China’s exports slump amidst fears of trade war with US
China, the world's biggest exporter, has suffered a slump for the second year in a row with the exports dipping 7.7 per cent in 2016 amid concerns over continued slowdown of the second largest economy and a likely trade war with the US under the Trump administration.
China's exports in 2016 fell by 7.7 per cent compared with 2015 in dollar terms, deepening from a 2.8 per cent fall the previous year, China customs data showed. Imports fell 5.5 per cent last year. For the whole of 2016 in dollar terms, exports fell by 7.7 per cent to $2.1 trillion while imports dropped 5.5 per cent to $1.59 trillion.
China's foreign trade surplus narrowed to 3.35 trillion yuan ($486 billion) in 2016, down 9.1 per cent from a year earlier, customs data showed.
The country's exports in yuan-denominated terms dropped 2 per cent to 13.84 trillion yuan year on year in 2016, while imports rose 0.6 per cent from the 2015 level to 10.49 trillion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC). The total export and import value decreased 0.9 per cent year-on-year to 24.33 trillion yuan.
In dollar terms, however, the fall made big difference as yuan weakened by about 8 per cent against US dollar last year.
Huang Songping, a spokesman with the General Administration of Customs told media that China faced a "complicated and grim" condition for foreign trade last year with increasing uncertainties and instabilities.
He said China would continue to see trade woes this year amid a complex global situation and economic downward pressures at home.
"The global political pattern will see huge changes this year, such as the Brexit departure from the European Union, elections in major European countries, the new presidency in the US and the election of South Korea's president. (These) will all bring changes to current policies and may exacerbate the momentum of trade protectionism globally," Huang said.
China's weak trade data came as China is bracing for a what the officials here term as an impending trade with US under Trump Presidency.
The US is one of China's biggest trade partners.
China makes best of the $600 billion bilateral trade as China's exports to the US last year totalled to $598 billion against imports $116 billion from America. Trump wants to ensure that the trade gap gets narrowed and wants to rebalance trade between the top two economies of the world.
Trump also accuses China of devaluing currency yuan against dollar to ensure better returns. Also according to top Chinese officials, China's economy will slowdown to 6.7 per cent from 6.9 per cent in 2015.
China posted 6.9 per cent GDP in 2015 the slowest in 25 years, slipping below seven per cent. China's economy is estimated to grow by about 6.7 per cent in 2016, Xu Shaoshi, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency on January 10.