China's exports and imports plummet in February

Leroy Wright
March 10, 2019

"That is, to remove all the tariffs imposed on each other so that bilateral trade relations between China and the U.S. can return to normal".

China will promote stable and higher quality growth of foreign trade this year, said Li while pledging to diversify export markets and actively expand imports.

"Today's trade figures reinforce our view that China's trade recession has started to emerge", said Raymond Yeung of ANZ bank.

"China is set to have a hard time on trade, because on the US front there is the trade war, and on the European Union front the economy is really weakening", said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.in Singapore.

Last month the US President had said that he and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are planning to meet at his Florida resort in Mar-a-Lago to give a final shape to the trade deal, which is being negotiated between the two countries for past several months now.

China's total overseas shipments sank 20.7 percent year-on-year and imports fell 5.2 percent, much worse than the 5 percent and 0.6 percent drops forecast in a Bloomberg News poll.

China's exports had unexpectedly risen in January, data showed last month.

"If you look at the stock market over the last few months, it's been great".

On Friday, Willems said the two countries had made progress in talks but that there was still much more left to be done.

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Although Friday's trade figures raised concerns about a further slowdown in the world's second-largest economy, analysts cautioned it was hard to compare trends in China's data at the start of the year due to the Spring Festival holiday, which came in early February this year and could affect business activity.

Wang says the two sides have achieved substantial progress on important issues and that they are working day and night to reach a deal.

But the New York Times reported that Chinese officials are leery of continued discussions and don't want to commit China to structural changes in its economy.

There is little point in looking at the February trade numbers in isolation, given the impact on trade flows caused by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays.

Even if a trade deal is reached, its exporters will have to contend with weakening demand globally, particularly in Europe.

Actual growth last year slowed to 6.6 percent, and is expected to cool further to 6.2 percent this year.

The dramatic decrease was the weakest performance since February 2016, according to data released by the Chinese government.

Crude oil imports stood at 39.22 million tons, or 10.23 million bpd, which was a 21.6-percent increase on the year and the fourth consecutive month of an import rate above 10 million tons. "The two countries will not, and should not descend into confrontation", Wang said. However, the plunge can also be attributed to declining global demands of some goods.

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