China’s exports cool in August while imports accelerate

China’s export growth weakened in August as global demand softened while imports showed unexpected strength despite expectations of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

Exports rose 5.5 per cent over a year earlier to 199.2 billion, down from July’s 7.2 per cent growth, trade data showed on Friday.

Imports rose 13.3 per cent to USD 157.2 billion, up from the previous month’s 11 per cent.

Forecasters have warned Chinese economic growth will cool this year, dampening demand for foreign goods as controls on bank lending to slow a rise in debt take hold.

The International Monetary Fund expects this year’s economic growth to slip to 6.6 per cent from last year’s 6.7 per cent and to below 6.2 per cent in 2018.

“The strong import data suggests that domestic demand may be more resilient than expected,” said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report.

Export growth was unexpectedly strong in the first half of the year, a positive sign for Chinese leaders who want to avoid job losses in trade-related industries.

China has been credited with helping to support global demand and weaker imports might hurt suppliers for whom this country is a major market. China’s global trade surplus declined by 19 per cent in August from a year earlier to USD 42 billion.

The politically sensitive surplus with the United States rose 4 per cent to USD 26.2 billion.


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