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China's trade grows in June amid tensions with Washington

13 July 2018

The US trade deficit with China hit a record high in June, according to a Reuters analysis, despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani: Trump interview with Mueller "further away" ACLU calls for Trump officials to hand over info on immigrant children Kushner to join Pompeo for meetings with Mexican leaders MORE's efforts to alter the trade relationship between the world's two largest economies.

Trump has railed against China's trade surplus with the U.S., which ran at $375 billion in 2017, and has demanded Beijing cut it. Washington has warned it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of United States imports from China previous year.

Over the first six months of the year the surplus climbed to $133.8 billion as total two-way trade continued to expand despite the face-off.

China's total exports rose 11.3% year-on-year in June, beating a Bloomberg News forecast of 9.5%.

The figures come after the two sides exchanged tit for tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and Donald Trump threatened to up the ante with measures on a colossal $200 billion of Chinese imports.

China's commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading shipments to the U.S. to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year-end.

However, a lower yuan would make it more expensive for China to import United States goods. Both official and private business surveys reported softer export orders last month as the trade row deepens.

This added to brewing tensions between the economic superpowers as they stand on the brink of an all-out trade war that Beijing warned would have a "negative impact" globally.

Separate customs data on Friday showed imports of commodities from soybeans to crude oil eased compared with a year ago, but China's steel mills and aluminium smelters sold much more overseas spurred by higher worldwide prices amid growing concerns about slowing demand growth. "Not only will Chinese exporters suffer but American consumers as well", she said.

Against this overall background, Australia is in the fortunate position of avoiding a trade dispute with the U.S. and largely being spared from the impact of the new United States tariffs.

Imports increased by 14.1%, below the forecast 21.3%. Its trade surplus with the USA over the same period was $133.76bn, up from $117.51bn past year. The surplus was China's highest since December.

China's trade grows in June amid tensions with Washington