Exports from China fell 1.3 percent year-on-year to USD 212.84 billion in June, compared to market expectations of a 2 percent drop. It was the first full month of higher US tariffs on USD 200 billion of Chinese goods, which were implemented weeks earlier. Meanwhile, Beijing and Washington agreed to restart negotiations amid concerns that the ongoing trade tensions continue to weigh on global growth. Sales of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products went down 0.8 percent to 506,000 tonnes and were down 5.6 percent from May's 536,000 tonnes. Also, exports of coke & semi-coke dropped by 60.1 percent to 0.38 million tonnes and by 56.5 percent from May's 0.88 million tonnes. Exports of steel products fell 23.6 percent to 5.31 million tonnes while those of coal declined 5.9 percent to 0.33 million tonnes. Exports of rare earths slumped 27.3 percent from a year ago. By contrast, exports of rice jumped 81.7 percent to 298,000 tonnes, but were 13.1 percent lower from May's 343,000 tonnes.
Among China's largest trade partners, exports dropped to the US (-7.8 percent), the EU (-3.1 percent) and Australia (-3.4 percent), but rose to ASEAN (12.8 percent), Taiwan (5 percent), South Korea (2.9 percent) and Japan (2.4 percent).
Imports plunged 7.3 percent from a year earlier to USD 161.86 billion in June, much worse than forecasts of a 4.5 percent drop, a further sign of weak domestic demand that could lead Beijing to add more stimulus. Purchases of unwrought copper tumbled 27.2 percent to 326,000 tonnes in June and were down by 9.7 percent from May's 361,000 tonnes. Also, iron ore imports fell 9.7 percent to 75.18 million tonnes, and were down by 10.2 percent from the previous month. In addition, inbound shipments of soybeans slumped 25.1 percent to 6.51 million tonnes and were down by 11.5 percent from May, amid higher tariff on US cargoes and following outbreaks of African swine fever. By contrast, increases were seen in imports of crude oil (up 15.2 percent to 39.58 million tonnes) and coal (up 6.4 percent to 27.10 million tonnes).
Imports fell from the US (-31.4 percent), South Korea (-21.9 percent), Taiwan (-7.4 percent) and Japan (-5 percent), but grew from the EU (8.6 percent), Australia (8.8 percent) and ASEAN (0.4 percent).
China's trade surplus with the US rose 11 percent to USD 29.92 billion in June from USD 26.9 billion in May. For January-June combined, the country's trade surplus with the US widened 5 percent to USD 140.48 billion from USD 133.76 billion in the same period in 2018.
Considering the first half of the year, the trade surplus widened to USD 181.15 billion from USD 135.27 billion in the same period last year
In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 345.18 billion in June, as exports grew 6.1 percent while imports declined 0.4 percent.