China posts strongest export growth in seven years in 2018 despite trade war

Geely cars for export enter a cargo vessel at Ningbo Zhoushan port in Zhejiang province, China January 2, 2019. — Reuters pic
Geely cars for export enter a cargo vessel at Ningbo Zhoushan port in Zhejiang province, China January 2, 2019. — Reuters pic

BEIJING, Jan 14 — China's exports rose 9.9 per cent in 2018, its strongest trade performance in seven years, despite growing disruptions from an escalating trade war with the United States, customs data showed today.

Imports increased 15.8 per cent last year, resulting in a trade surplus of US$351.76 billion (RM1.439 trillion), the country's lowest since 2013.

The world's largest trading nation got off to a strong start in 2018, but pressure on the economy started to build later in the year as the United States and China began imposing tariffs on each other's goods and global demand started to cool.

The Customs office is expected to release trade numbers for December later in the day.

China's export growth is expected to have eased for a second straight month in December as global demand weakened, raising pressure on Beijing as it tries to reach a trade deal with Washington.

Softening demand in China is already being felt around the world, with slowing sales of goods ranging from iPhones to automobiles adding to fears of cooling global growth.

Sources told Reuters last week that Beijing is planning to lower its economic growth target to 6-6.5 per cent this year after an expected 6.6 per cent in 2018, the slowest pace in 28 years. — Reuters

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