Archive for ‘imports’

06/03/2019

China’s February exports seen falling most in 2 years, imports down again – Reuters Poll

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports likely contracted in February after a surprise bounce in January, while imports fell for a third straight month, a Reuters poll showed, heightening anxiety over whether Washington and Beijing can resolve deep differences over trade.

China’s exports in February are expected to have fallen 4.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of 32 economists in a Reuters poll, following a 9.1 percent rise in January.

Such a drop would be the biggest since December 2016, and suggest a further weakening in global demand.

Imports in February are expected to have fallen 1.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with the previous month’s 1.5 percent decline.Stronger-than-expected imports could prompt some China watchers to say the economy is showing signs of bottoming out in response to a string of stimulus measures in 2018.

But most analysts typically caution that China’s data early in the year can be highly distorted by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, when some business rush out shipments or scale back output before shutting for a extended break. As such, analysts’ estimates for February varied widely.

TRADE DEAL NOT A SILVER BULLET

In recent weeks, the United States and China appear to have moved closer to a trade deal that would roll back tit-for-tat tariffs on each others’ goods, with Beijing making pledges on structural economic changes, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday.

But President Donald Trump will reject any pact that is not perfect, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week.
Even if concrete steps such as dismantling tariffs are agreed, it would not be a panacea for all of China’s economic woes. Its exporters would have to piece supply chains back together, win back market share and contend with slowing demand globally.
Factory surveys have suggested exports and imports will remain weak in coming months, with February’s official gauge showing export orders fell to their weakest level since the global financial crisis.
China’s overall trade surplus is seen to have shrunk sharply to $26.38 billion in February from $39.16 billion the previous month, according to the Reuters poll.
In response to growing domestic and global pressure, China’s government this week unveiled a 2019 economic growth target of 6.0-6.5 percent, down from an actual 6.6 percent in 2018, the slowest pace in nearly 30 years.
China to slash taxes, boost lending to prop up slowing economy
Premier Li Keqiang told parliament on Tuesday that China will shore up the economy through billions of dollars in additional tax cuts and infrastructure spending, and will lower real interest rates.
“A set of pro-growth measures are planned despite positive progress in U.S.-China trade talks, which makes us think that either China doesn’t have full confidence in a trade truce or that the damages from the trade conflict cannot easily be undone,” said Iris Pang, Greater China economist at ING.
Source: Reuters
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02/03/2019

China’s private business hub to increase trade with Africa

HANGZHOU, March 1 (Xinhua) — East China’s Zhejiang Province plans to increase its trade volume with Africa to 40 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2022 to account for at least 20 percent of the total Sino-Africa trade.

Zhejiang’s department of commerce issued an action plan revealing the details on Friday as China’s first provincial-level plan on economic cooperation with African countries.

The 40-billion-dollar target will mark a significant rise from the 30.1-billion-dollar trade between Africa and Zhejiang, home to many of China’s most successful private businesses, in 2018.

The plan also promises to increase investments in Africa’s industries of textiles, garments, chemicals, equipment manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to meet the continent’s development needs.

The province, however, will bar investments that are polluting and highly energy-consuming from going to Africa, said the plan, which also calls for more agricultural investments and cooperation.

The document also said the province would expand goods imports from Africa, especially in the non-resources category.

According to China Customs, China’s foreign trade with Africa reached 204.19 billion dollars in 2018, up 19.7 percent year-on-year and 7.1 percentage points higher than the growth of China’s overall foreign trade during the same period.

Specifically, the country’s exports to Africa rose 10.8 percent to 104.91 billion dollars in 2018, while its imports from Africa surged 30.8 percent to reach 99.28 billion dollars.

Source: Xinhua

26/02/2019

Trump: US and China ‘very very close’ on deal

US President Donald Trump addresses US governors at the White HouseImage copyrightAFP

President Donald Trump has said that the US and China are “very very close” to signing a trade agreement, potentially ending the long-running feud between the two countries.

Mr Trump told US governors on Monday that both nations “are going to have a signing summit”.

“Hopefully, we can get that completed. But we’re getting very, very close,” he said.

It follows a decision to delay imposing further trade tariffs on Chinese goods.

At the weekend, Mr Trump said both sides had made “substantial progress” in trade talks following a summit in Washington last week.

The rise in import duties on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% was due to come into effect on 1 March.

Instead, Mr Trump said the US is now planning a summit with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping at the US President’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

US shares rose on the decision to delay tariffs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.23% higher at 26,091.9.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also finished trading in positive territory.

As he prepared to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, Mr Trump also tweeted that a China trade deal was in “advanced stages”.

Mr Trump’s decision to delay tariff increases on $200bn (£153bn) worth of Chinese goods was seen as a sign that the two sides were moving ahead in settling their damaging trade war.

Last week, Mr Trump noted progress in the latest round of negotiations in Washington, including an agreement on currency manipulation, though no details were disclosed.

Sources told CNBC on Friday that China had committed to buying up to $1.2 trillion in US goods, but there had been no progress on the intellectual property issues.

Donald Trump and China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval OfficeImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Trump met China’s Vice Premier Liu He on Friday

Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, said: “We had anticipated such a delay and believe a handshake agreement in which China will promise to import more agricultural products, work towards a stable currency and reinforce intellectual property rights protection will be achieved in the coming weeks.

“However, we don’t foresee a significant rollback of existing tariffs, and see underlying tensions regarding China’s strategic ambitions, its industrial policy, technological transfers and ‘verification and enforcement’ mechanisms remaining in place.”

What has happened in the trade war so far?

Mr Trump initiated the trade war over complaints of unfair Chinese trading practices.

That included accusing China of stealing intellectual property from American firms, forcing them to transfer technology to China.

The US has imposed tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

Mr Trump has also threatened further tariffs on an additional $267bn worth of Chinese products – which would see virtually all of Chinese imports into the US become subject to duties.

US and China's tariffs against each other

The trade dispute has unnerved financial markets, risks raising costs for American companies and is adding pressure to a Chinese economy that is already showing signs of strain.

It has also stoked fears about the impact on the global economy.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund warned the trade war between the US and China risked making the world a “poorer and more dangerous place”.

Source: The BBC

19/01/2019

China offers to ramp up U.S. imports – Bloomberg

(Reuters) – China has offered to go on a six-year buying spree to ramp up imports from the United States in order to reconfigure the relation between the two countries, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

By raising annual goods imports from the United States by a combined value of more than $1 trillion (£776 billion), China would seek to reduce its trade surplus, which last year stood at $323 billion, to zero by 2024, one of the people told Bloomberg. bloom.bg/2RBsiEL

It was unclear how the offer differed from what China pledged when U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Buones Aires in December. At that meeting, China offered more than $1.2 trillion in additional commitments on trade, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

Reuters reported on Jan. 9 that U.S. officials used three days of trade talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing to demand more details on China’s pledge to make big purchases of American goods. China offered similar commitments, albeit on a smaller scale, during talks in Washington last May.

The Bloomberg report on Friday helped drive a rally on Wall Street where main stock indexes were on track for their fourth week of gains, in part on hopes the United States and China would strike a deal to end a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. The two sides have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs that have disrupted hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce.

While increased purchases of U.S. goods have been part of the talks, American negotiators have also focused on issues that would require structural change in China. Those include finding ways to end the misappropriation of intellectual property from U.S. companies and halting industrial subsidies.

Halfway through a 90-day truce in the U.S.-China trade war agreed to on Dec. 1 when Trump and Xi met during the G20 summit in Argentina, there have been few details provided of any progress made. On Tuesday, a Republican senator said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had told him he had seen no progress on structural issues.

Data on Monday showed China’s exports unexpectedly fell the most in two years in December and imports also contracted, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy in 2019 and deteriorating global demand.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff rollback during trade discussions scheduled for Jan. 30.

Lighthizer has resisted the idea, and the proposal had not yet been introduced to Trump, according to the Journal.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan. 30 and 31 for the latest round of trade talks aimed at resolving the bitter trade dispute. The Trump administration is scheduled to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent on March 2 from 10 percent.

The Trump administration has urged China to take steps to protect U.S. intellectual property, end policies that force American companies to turn over technology to a Chinese partner, allow more market access for U.S. businesses and reduce other non-tariff barriers to American products.

China has repeatedly played down complaints about intellectual property abuses, and has rejected accusations that foreign companies face forced technology transfers.

Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

Source: Reuters

02/01/2019

China cuts quotas for crude oil imports in first round of allowances for 2019

  • They total 89.84 million tonnes, down from 121.32 million tonnes a year ago – a move that may signal slowing demand growth in the first half
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 6:12pm

China issued its first batch of crude oil import quotas for 2019 on Wednesday at a lower volume than for the same batch a year ago, though expectations are for the volumes to climb later this year.

The Ministry of Commerce granted quotas totalling 89.84 million tonnes to 58 companies in its first allowances for 2019, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday.

This is down from the 121.32 million tonnes issued in the first batch of allowances for 2018, although the sources said Beijing may increase the overall volume for 2019 in a second batch of quotas later this year.

It comes as Beijing seeks to end a bruising trade war with Washington and reduce the risk of a sharper economic slowdown in 2019.

The trade frictions are already disrupting global supply chains, fuelling concerns of a bigger blow next year to world trade, investment and financial markets.

Official data released this week showed China’s factory activity contracted in December for the first time in over two years, signalling a continued loss of momentum in the Chinese economy.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – the first snapshot of China’s economy each month – fell to 49.4 in December, below the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

It was the first contraction since July 2016 and the weakest reading since February 2016. Analysts had forecast it would dip to 49.9 from 50.0 the previous month.

Lower import quotas may signal slowing crude demand growth for the first half of the year in China, the world’s largest oil importer and second-largest oil consumer.

“The market, in general, does not have an upbeat outlook for imports. I think the drop in quota could likely mean easing growth in China’s crude imports in the first half,” said Zhou Guoxia, a crude oil analyst with consultancy JLC.

Private refiners, also known as teapots, received quotas for 70.65 million tonnes of imports, more than 20 per cent lower than the first batch of quotas issued last year, according to the documents and Reuters data.

This volume should be able to cover 10 months of their requirements, Zhou said.

One of the four sources, who works for a private Chinese refiner, said they received about a third of its annual quota in the first batch and expects to get the remainder in a second batch, which Beijing usually issues around September.

But the start-up of new refineries in China in 2019 is expected to raise crude imports to a record, adding 630,000 barrels per day of new demand, 7 per cent higher than last year, according to Beijing-based consultancy SIA Energy.

Dalian Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Petrochemical, which are starting up new refineries in 2019, have each received quotas of 4 million tonnes, according to the documents reviewed by Reuters.

Dragon Aromatics, a petrochemical producer based in Fujian province, has also received import quota of 600,000 tonnes as it resumes operations at its condensate splitter, the sources said.

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