Published: Sun, February 12, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

China's Export Machine Powers Ahead In January Despite Trump Threats

China's Export Machine Powers Ahead In January Despite Trump Threats

China watchers warned the long Chinese New Year holidays may have distorted the data to some degree, with companies pumping up production or rushing to build inventories before the break, which can last for weeks.

"The rebound of trade data was partly due to the low base of January a year ago", said Deng Haiqing, chief economist with JZ Securities.

A final report for the period is expected on February 23.

In US dollar terms, exports rose 7.9 percent, higher than market expectations of 3.3 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

China's exports recovered at a faster-than-expected pace at the start of the year ahead of the protectionist policies that U.S. President Donald Trump could take, deterring shipments of most Asian economies.

January data also benefited from a more favorable comparison to a year earlier, when shipments slumped 10.9 percent in yuan terms.

Imports in January surged 16.7% from a year earlier, compared with 3.1% growth in December. Trump's tough talk of imposing punitive tariffs on Chinese goods worries U.S. exporters " The exports were largely driven up by the strong economic recovery in the United States", Hong Hao, chief strategist at BOCOM International in Hong Kong, said. "Large concerns remain ahead, as the trade situation for China largely depends on its relationship with the new US administration", Nishihama said.

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China's export to Russian Federation rose 7.3% on an annualized basis to $37.3 bln in 2016.

China's trade surplus widened in January to $51.35 billion from $40.82 billion the previous month, exceeding a median forecast for a $50 billion surplus.

The surplus decreased $20.1 billion to $347.0 billion in 2016, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $6.55 billion in January 2017. -China trade and political ties is likely to weigh on confidence of exporters and investors worldwide.

"The rebound in commodity prices and overseas demand for industrial products boosted the country's exports".

China's total trade surplus narrowed in 2016 to $510.7 billion.

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