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China Trade Balance August 2018

China: Export growth cools in August amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions

Export growth slowed to 9.8% year-on-year in August, down from the 12.2% increased registered in July. The figure fell shy of market expectations of a 10.0% increase. The softer print suggests that escalating U.S.-China trade tensions are beginning to weigh on China’s external sector.

Meanwhile, import growth eased to 20.0% in August from July’s robust 27.3% growth rate. Weaker domestic demand as well as less frontloading of import shipments likely weighed on the print.

The trade surplus consequently fell to USD 27.9 billion in August, from USD 40.0 billion the same month a year prior (July 2018: USD 28.1 billion surplus). The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus dropped to USD 351 billion in August from USD 363 billion in July, the lowest figure in nearly four years.

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