Chinese imports slump amid trade standoff with US

Chinese imports slump amid trade standoff with US

Shipments from China jumped by 14.2 per cent in March, the strongest rise in five months and exceeding forecasts.

China's economic growth is expected to cool to around 6.3 per cent in the first quarter of the year and may not bottom out until later in the year, according to a Reuters poll. Dow Jones said the surplus was only expected to have come in at $6 billion.

It also comes after Chinese imports slid by 5.2% in February, suggesting there has been a sustained decline in domestic demand.

Imports fell by 7.6% in March compared to a year earlier, worse than City economists' forecasts for the volume of goods bought from overseas to grow by 0.2%.

Chinese exports surged past expectations in March but imports slumped amid the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, according to data released on Friday. In coming months, we expect modest export growth as the base effect fades.

Analysts said the trade standoff between the United States and China was a likely factor behind the slowdown.

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On Wednesday, news agencies reported that China and the United States have agreed to set up enforcement offices to monitor the implementation of trade pledges, reflecting concrete steps taken between both parties to getting a trade deal sorted out.

President Donald Trump said last week that an agreement could be reached in about four weeks.

This accounted for a large chunk of China's total trade surplus, which grew to US$32.64 billion in March, up from $4.08 billion over the first two months of the year.

India has witnessed a major breakthrough in its exports to China during the last few months while its import of Chinese items is falling, according to Mahesh Y Reddy, secretary general of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), who recently appreciated the remarkable turnaround by Indian exporters during April-January 2018-19.

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund improved the outlook for Chinese growth this year to 6.3%, as the conflict between the U.S. and China on their trade deal did not worsen as expected from its earlier forecast.

On imports, analysts said companies might not be restocking their inventories as much as usual due to concerns over the longer-term economic outlook.

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