China's Exports Growth Tops Expectations

Michele Moreno
July 14, 2017

China has slashed imports of coal from North Korea even as overall trade between the countries continues to rise.

Iron ore is among China's biggest imports from the North after it stopped buying coal this year due to the sanctions.

A stronger-than-expected rise in June exports of 11.3%, set against a significant increase in exports of 17.2% that suggests firming domestic demand despite concern for cooling property prices, boosted China's trade surplus with its global partners by 5% to $42.77 billion, the General Customs Administration said.

China says its trade with North Korea rose in the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period the year before.

In March of past year, China agreed to enforce United Nations sanctions after North Korea launched a missile with potential nuclear capabilities.

Last week U.S. President Donald Trump denounced China's trade with North Korea, saying it had grown nearly 40 percent in the first quarter, and cast doubt on whether Beijing was helping to counter the threat from North Korea.

The growth bilateral trade "should not be used as basis for questioning China's solemn attitude towards the implementation of the Security Council's resolutions", Huang Songping, a spokesman for Chinese Customs, told reporters in Beijing.

Asked about the surge in China's imports of North Korean iron ore and in China's ethanol exports to North Korea in recent months, Huang said that trade with North Korea for civilian use was allowed despite the sanctions.

China, the world's largest coal buyer, imported 21.6 million tonnes of coal in June, down from a month ago, preliminary customs data showed on Thursday. Huang said month-on-month figures showed an even sharper decline. "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihoods, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions".

While China's exports were likely to remain strong, "we are sceptical that the current pace of imports can be sustained for much longer given the increasing headwinds to China's economy from policy tightening", said Julian-Evans Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

Other reports by Insurance News

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