The Strategist

China's trade decline with the US keeps pace

12/09/2019 - 09:42

In January-November, China’s trade with the United States against the backdrop of the trade war lost 15.2% compared with the same period in 2018, rolling back to the level of $ 494.45 billion, follows from the data of the PRC Main Customs Administration on December 8. The preliminary summary of the Chinese customs officers does not contain data on the shares of foreign trade partners, and it is impossible to recover some of the figures.

Global Jet via flickr
Global Jet via flickr
The full report for November will be held on December 23. However, even inaccurate figures revealed an American advantage in the fall of 2019, and deliveries from China to the U.S. on New Year's Eve will be significantly lower than before.

According to Chinese customs (they may be revised later, but this does not happen so often), China's exports to the USA for 11 months of 2019 decreased by 12.5% and amounted to $ 383.5 billion. US imports to China decreased more in numbers - by 23.3%, to $ 110.98 billion. Reuters calculations according to trade statistics show that the monthly trade balance of China and the USA fell by almost $ 2 billion in November and amounted to $ 24.6 billion. It is still large as China sells goods worth about $ 300 billion to the US. It is important, however, that while the victory in the trade war is clearly not won by the PRC, but by the United States.

Amid a reduction in trade with the United States, China’s trade with other countries is growing.

Over 11 months, trade with ASEAN countries grew by 7.5% and amounted to $ 614.83 billion (export growth 11.5%), with EU countries - 2.8%, up to $ 596.25 billion (export growth 4.5 %, including to Great Britain - by 10%, to France - by 6.6%).

The overall outcome of the trade war for the PRC is still moderate: the volume of China's foreign trade (turnover) in January-November fell by only 2.2% year on year, to $ 4.14 trillion. Exports for this period decreased by 0.3%, to $ 2.26 billion, imports - by 4.5%, to $ 1.88 billion. In November, exports continued to fall (for the fourth month in a row): on an annualized basis, it decreased by 1,1% against 0.9% in October. November imports, by contrast, unexpectedly grew by 0.3%, to $ 183.01 billion - for the first time since April 2019.

Recall that on December 15, another package of US duties on China's goods in the amount of $ 156 billion, including consumer goods, should come into force if a preliminary agreement between the countries is not reached. However, it is unlikely that the deal will facilitate, for example, the adoption by the US Congress of two laws aimed at supporting protesters in Hong Kong and the Chinese Uighurs, as well as the call of Donald Trump to stop lending to China through the World Bank: the chances that the parties will eventually agree before December 15 look small.


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