Despite Trump's tariffs, USA trade deficit at 10-year high

Shipments of Chinese goods on an earlier US tariff list targeting $50 billion of products have already weakened sharply, but that has been offset by a rush of shipments on a later list affecting the $200 billion, according to analysts from Capital Economics.

The Ministry of Commerce said Thursday China will immediately start implementing agreements on agricultural products, energy and cars that were reached at the weekend summit between Chinese and US leaders over their ongoing trade dispute.

China's trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record Dollars 35.6 billion in November, official data showed Saturday, as exports across the Pacific remained strong despite a raft of USA tariffs while imports shrank.

Exports to the U.S. are likely to have been bolstered by American businesses front-loading their stock by buying more goods from China before the threatened increase in tariffs kicked in.

Growth in imports for November slowed sharply to 3.0 percent from a 21.4 jump in October, and far missed analysts' forecast of 14.5 percent.

Shipments to the whole world in United States dollar terms rose 5.4 per cent in November, the customs administration said Saturday, missing estimates.

China's government said Thursday it will promptly carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington and is confident they can reach a trade agreement, suggesting Beijing wants to avoid disruptions due to the arrest of a tech executive.

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U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, 2018.

The customs data showed that annual growth for exports to all of China's major partners slowed significantly.

"The ultimate goal for the 90 days of talks is to remove all the increased tariffs", Gao said.

Another key export barometer is the biannual Canton Fair.

Xu Jianwei, senior China economist from French bank Natixis, said the bigger fall in imports from 21.4 per cent in October pointed to weakness in domestic demand but higher base number from November past year also needed to be taken into account. The most recent event - which ran from mid-October to early November - saw transactions falling by 1 per cent, or US$300 million, compared with last autumn.

In particular, imports of soybeans plunged by 38 per cent, while iron ore, coal and steel imports also fell.

"Slower exports and property investment will lead to a further slowdown in China's economy", Mr Hu said after the data was released.

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