China July Trade Surplus Smaller than Expected

China's trade surplus narrowed sharply to USD 28.05 bilion in July 2018 from USD 44.85 billion in the same month a year earlier and far below market consensus of USD 39.33 bilion. Imports jumped 27.3 percent to a near record high while exports rose at a softer 12.2 percent.
Rida | 8/8/2018 3:45:01 PM
Imports surged 27.3 percent from a year earlier to USD 187.52 billion in July, way faster than market expectations of a 16.2 percent rise and compared with a 14.1 percent growth in June. China's coal imports soared 49.1 percent year-on-year to 29.01 million tonnes, the highest since January 2014, and were above June's 25.46 million tonnes, as rising temperatures boosted demand for coal-fired power to run air conditioners in the world's top buyer of the fuel. In addition, imports of copper concentrate rose to a record 1.845 million tonnes last month, up 31.8 percent from a year earlier and also 5.4 percent higher than 1.75 million tonnes imported in June. China's unwrought copper imports - which include anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished copper products - rose 15.9 percent year-on-year to 452,000 tonnes in July. Crude shipments came in at 36.02 million tonnes in July, or 8.48 million barrels per day, the third lowest so far this year. They were up from 8.18 million bpd a year ago, and from June's 8.36 million bpd. Imports of iron ore also grew 4.3 percent year-on-year to 89.96 million tonnes in July. Meantime, arrivals of soybeans fell 20.6 percent to 8.01 million tonnes in July from last year's 10 million tonnes, and were lower than June's  8.70 milion tonnes. Beijing imposed a 25 percent tariff on a list of American products totalling USD 34 billion, including soybeans, on July 6th.

Exports rose 12.2 percent to USD 215.57 billion in July, beating forecasts for a 10 percent increase and up from a 11.2 percent gain in June, despite fresh US tariffs. Unwrought aluminium and aluminium product exports were 519,000 tonnes last month, their second-highest level on record, boosted by a weaker yuan and a still-favourable price arbitrage to international markets. July's aluminium exports were up 18 percent from 440,000 tonnes a year ago and up 1.8 percent from 510,000 tonnes in June. Meanwhile, sales of steel products dropped 15 percent to 5.89 million tonnes in July from 6.96 million tonnes last year. Also, steel exports were down 15 percent from June's 11-month high of 6.94 million tonnes. China, the world's top producer of steel and aluminium, has been subject to 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminium import tariffs, in the United States, since March 23rd. The Trump administration just announced plans to impose new tariffs on USD 16 billion in Chinese imports, bringing the total value of products covered by the duties to USD 50 billion.

The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, narrowed slightly to USD 28.09 billion in July from June's record of USD 28.93 billion in June. Exports to the US grew 11 percent year over year from 12.5 percent in June, while imports was up 11 percent from 9 percent.

For January-July, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 166.63 billion from USD 222.95 billion in the same period 2017. The seven-month trade surplus with the US widened to USD 161.63 billion, compared with about USD 142.75 billion in the same period last year.

In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 176.96 billion in July, as imports increased by 20.9 percent and exports by 6 percent. For January-July, the trade surplus narrowed by 30.6 percent to CNY 1.06 trillion, as imports grew by 12.9 percent and exports by 5 percent.

China July Trade Surplus Smaller than Expected