Imports rose 3.0 percent, far lower than a 21.4 percent growth in October and way below expectations of a 14.5 percent rise.
It was the weakest increase in inbound shipments since October 2016. Purchases of crude oil increased 17.7 percent year-on-year to a fresh record high of 42.61 million tonnes, and rose 4.8 percent from October's 40.64 million tonnes. Also, arrivals of natural gas grew 39.8 percent year-on-year to 9.15 million tonnes, and went up 25.6 percent from October's 7.29 million tonnes. In contrast, China's unwrought copper imports declined 3.0 percent from a year earlier to 456,000 tonnes, but grew 8.6 percent from October's 420,000 tonnes. Also, imports of copper concentrate fell 4.6 percent to 1.70 million tonnes, but was up 8.9 percent from a month earlier of 1.56 million tonnes. In addition, purchases of iron ore were down 8.8 percent year-on-year to 86.25 million tonnes, and decreased 2.4 percent from October's 88.39 million tonnes. At the same time, imports of soybeans plunged 38.0 percent year-on-year to 5.38 million tonnes, and were down 22.2 percent from October's 6.92 million tonnes, as buyers avoided US soybeans amid ongoing trade row.
The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, widened to a fresh record high of USD 35.55 billion in October from USD 31.78 billion in September. Exports to the country rose 9.8 percent year-on-year and 8.2 percent month-over-month, while imports plummeted 25 percent compared to the same month a year ealier and 2.5 percent month-over-month. Over the first eleven months of the year, the trade surplus with the US widened markedly to USD 293.53 billion from USD 251.26 billion in the same period a year earlier.
In yuan-denominated terms, China's trade surplus came in at CNY 306.04 billion in November, as exports grew at a faster 10.2 percent, while exports went up 7.8 percent.