China’s US exports cooled in 1H as tariffs approach


BEIJING • Growth in China’s exports to the US slowed significantly in the first half of 2018 (1H18), according to official data released yesterday, indicating that the brewing trade conflict between the two nations may already be taking a toll.

China’s exports to the US expanded 5.4% in the 1H, 13.9 percentage points lower than the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its website.

Chinese exports to the US in June rose 3.8%, 23.8 percentage points lower than the same month in 2017.

The US-specific data was released outside the usual schedule, as the July 6 start-date for American tariffs on US$34 billion (RM136 billion) of Chinese imports approaches. There is little sign of a broader detente between the world’s two biggest economies that might avert the imposition of US tariffs and an equivalent amount of retaliatory Chinese duties this week.

Here’s a breakdown provided by the customs: Exports of electronic and mechanical products to the US rose 8% in 1H18, making up 62.6% of the nation’s total exports to the US. Computers and data processing equipment and parts up 3.6%. Mobile phones up 5.5%. Exports value of labour-intensive products in the 1H almost on par with the same period last year. Clothing down 1.8%.

Furniture up 2.5%. In June, exports of electronic and mechanical products to the US rose 4% on a yearly basis. Automatic data processing equipment and its parts down 6.6%. Mobile phones down 7.1%. Labour-intensive products rose 3.5%. Agricultural products down 0.9% The statement didn’t say whether the value of exports was in yuan or dollars. The yuan had its worst quarter since 1994 in the second quarter, losing more than 5% in value against the dollar.