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China's trade surplus with USA widens to record $34.1bn

12 October 2018

Relations between the world's two largest economies soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink. "We were led badly when it came to trade", Trump told "Fox & Friends".

However, an oil trader told Reuters that refinery run rates have been on the rise last month, suggesting demand for fuels was improving.

He also blamed previous US presidents for allowing China to pursue unfair trade practices and said he had to tell Beijing, "It's over".

Trump has made similar accusations, although security experts say they didn't know of any Chinese influence operations comparable to Russian activities during the 2016 presidential election.

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The September surplus with the US was larger than China's overall trade surplus of $31.69 billion for the month. But Mnuchin said this possibility didn't concern him because it would be contrary to Beijing's economic interests to start dumping its Treasury holdings.

China's trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion in September as exports to the USA market rose by 13 percent over a year earlier despite a worsening tariff war.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

"The way the US has structured the tariffs encourages frontloading because firms that know they're going to hit with tariffs would rather pay 10 percent than 25 percent", he said.

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For January-September, China's trade surplus with the United States was $225.79 billion, compared with about $196.01 billion in the same period a year ago. Export numbers have been buoyed by producers rushing to fill orders before American tariffs rose.

- China said Friday it is in contact with the United States amid reports of a planned meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump next month following a dive in the US stock market blamed partly on a growing trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The yuan has fallen for weeks against the USA dollar, dropping nine percent in the past six months, which mitigates the rise in the price of Chinese goods caused by punitive U.S. tariffs. But that might hurt China's economy by encouraging an outflow of capital. The central bank has tightened controls on currency trading to head off further declines.

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China's trade surplus with USA widens to record $34.1bn