China's September trade surplus with US widens to record $34.13 billion

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China's trade surplus with the United States surged to a record high of $34.13 billion in September, compared with $31.05 billion in August, Chinese customs data showed Friday.

A cargo ship is seen at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on Friday. That prompted Mr Trump to threaten to extend the tariffs to nearly all China's $500 billion of exports.

The increase was driven by a 13 percent increase in Chinese exports to the United States in September, according to customs office data.

President Trump added he could do a lot more if he wanted to, but said he would prefer Beijing come to the negotiating table. China then hit back with tariffs on about US$60 billion of USA imports.

But China's trade surplus with the United States grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China's customs administration.

China's export data has been surprisingly resilient to tariffs, possibly as companies ramped up shipments before stiffer USA duties go into effect, but factory surveys have shown export orders have been shrinking for several months.

"The front-loading impact is quite obvious to me", said Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ in Hong Kong.

Chinese exports to the USA have at least temporarily defied forecasts they would weaken after being hit by punitive tariffs of up to 25 percent in a fight over American complaints about Beijing's technology policy.

The two countries already exchanged tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's goods earlier this year. There is no specific date set for the next round of tariffs, even as Trump has made repeated threats to impose them on virtually all Chinese goods.

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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.

China's overall trade - what it buys and sells with all countries including the United States - logged a $31.7bn surplus, as exports rose faster than imports. Analysts had expected imports to rise 15.0 percent, compared with August's 19.9 percent.

Iron ore imports rose to their highest level in four months as steel mills ramped up output ahead of winter production restrictions.

While the data showed China's trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China's economy is feeling some heat from tariff dispute and signs of slowing that prompted the central bank on Sunday to loosen policy by cutting banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for a fourth time this year.

The government is also concerned about diversion for use of technology by other countries, one of the officials said.

To shore up growth, Beijing has pledged to increase export tax rebates from November 1 for the second time this year and promised to cut corporate burden on a larger scale to help struggling Chinese firms.

But global trade would continue to face challenges as the U.S.

China will cut import tariffs on a wide range of goods beginning on November 1, as part of Beijing's pledge to take steps to increase imports this year amid rising tension. It also slashed China's growth forecast for next year to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent.

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