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Slump in Chinese exports fuels fears for global demand

14 January 2019

However, its trade surplus over America - the gap between exports and imports - expanded past year to the widest point on record.

Exports rose 7.1 percent year on year to 16.42 trillion yuan last year, while imports grew 12.9 percent to 14.09 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 2.33 trillion yuan, which narrowed by 18.3 percent. In 2017, mutual trade amounted to $84.07 billion demonstrating a growth of 20.8 percent.

China's global exports rose 7.1 percent to $2.5 trillion, down from the 7.9 percent rate reported earlier for 2017.

"China's foreign trade has developed in a steady manner with progress witnessed, reaching a record high in import and export volume", said Li Kuiwen, spokesman for the customs administration.

Exports to the United States held up through late 2018 despite President Donald Trump's tariff hikes on Chinese goods.

The world's second largest economy stuttered in December, suffering its worst trading month in two years.

China will work to straighten out trade frictions with the U.S. this year, the country's commerce minister told state media on Friday.

The bigger trade gap may add pressure on the Trump administration to raise the tariffs on China further.

The cost of producing goods in China's factories slowed sharply in December, a sign demand remains weak, while consumer inflation also flagged.

In December alone, China's trade surplus with the USA was $29.87 billion.

"Private enterprises contributed more than half to China's foreign trade growth in 2018, a bright spot of China's foreign trade development", said the spokesman.

Slump in Chinese exports fuels fears for global demand