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China's Xi presides over large-scale naval display in South China Sea

19 April 2018

The GOP political leaders are especially concerned about the impact trade retaliation from China could have on USA agriculture, which relies heavily on exports to China.

China's Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday (April 12) that it will be holding a live fire drill in the Taiwan Strait, setting off alarms in Taiwan and many Western countries.

China's crude oil imports rose to 39.1 million tonnes in March, or 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd), the second highest on record, according to Reuters calculations based on official customs data.

The data follows a month of tit for tat tariff threats by U.S. and China, ignited by the USA admin's frustration with China's massive trade surplus and intellectual property policies.

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As a result, the trade surplus came to more than 48 billion dollars, down 26.2 percent year-on-year.

Still, while no hard timeline has been set by either Washington or Beijing for the actual imposition of tariffs, analysts said China's exporters may already be adapting their strategies as punitive trade measures loom. "But even if this is avoided, trade looks likely to soften slightly over the coming quarters given that global growth now appears past its peak and China's own economy faces rising headwinds from tighter policy". Its imports from the US rose 8.9 percent in the quarter and 3.2 percent in March.

Meanwhile, imports surged 14% in March from a year ago, faster than the expected spike of 12%.

Imports of commodities continued to lead the way in March as manufacturers replenished inventories ahead of a seasonal pick-up in demand. That left China with a rare trade deficit for the month, also the first drop since last February.

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But the sudden spike in trade tensions with the United States is clouding the outlook for both China's "old economy" heavy industries and "new economy" tech firms.

Clearly, US President Trump believes that his Administration's trade threats against China are working and now there is talk of plans to focus on new tariffs and possible blocks to Chinese tech investment in the US.

US President Donald Trump today said trade negotiations with China were going on "very well", asserting that the two countries have made a lot of progress.

Still, last month's surplus with the United States fell to $15.4 billion from February's $21 billion, while it was also down from $17.7 billion during the same period in 2017.

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China's Xi presides over large-scale naval display in South China Sea