China’s trade surplus widens for 5th month

BEIJING • China’s trade surplus widened for a fifth month in July as export growth remained solid and imports moderated, keeping the spotlight on a trade gap US President Donald Trump aims to narrow.

Exports rose 7.2% in US dollars as imports increased 11%, both falling short of economist projections. The trade surplus widened to US$46.7 billion (RM200.09 billion). Shipments to the US rose 8.9% versus 19.8% in June, narrowing the trade surplus with the world’s biggest economy slightly to US$25.2 billion.

Demand for Chinese products has remained resilient as growth in major trading partners continues to recover. At home, stronger than expected output is supporting robust import demand.

Yet, the world’s largest exporter confronts more uncertainty as Trump continues sporadic tough talk on trade.

The White House may be considering a probe of alleged intellectual property violations, which could risk igniting trade tensions.

“Exports slowed in July, a reminder that despite robust demand the world’s factory has limited scope to grab increased market share,” Bloomberg Intelligence economists Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen wrote in a report. “If exports now come off the boil, that would provide additional reason for caution on deleveraging.”

Crude imports fell to the lowest in six months. Iron-ore imports rose 7.5% year-onyear in the January to July period. Natural gas imports jumped 20.7%. — Bloomberg