Slump in Chinese exports fuels fears for global demand

The agency noted that past year Russian imports of Chinese goods increased by 12 percent to $47.98 billion.

Customs data released Monday show exports rose 11.3 percent to $478.4 billion despite President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions.

That compared with about $275.81 billion in 2017.

The surplus surged despite the Trump administration imposing tariffs on almost $250 billion of goods made in China.

China's exports grew by 9.9 percent to $2.48 trillion, and imports increased by 15.8 percent to $2.14 trillion, he added.

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China's exports have fallen to their lowest point in two years while imports are also down.

Natural gas imports broke the previous record in December, according to the customs data, which was only to be expected as Beijing sought to make sure there would be no repeat of the December 2017 gas shortage, which was brought about by efforts to reduce coal consumption in favor of gas.

Chinese exporters also face pressure from cooling consumer demand in other global markets. That reflects the impact of Beijing's retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers. China's surplus is the U.S.'s trade deficit.

In 2018, the United States imposed billions of dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese products, prompting retaliation from Beijing and a trade war that analysts fear could escalate further and damage the global economy.

Last week, the Chinese commerce ministry said that mutual trade between the countries in December reached $100 billion for the first time ever.

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