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13 January 2018, 04:47 | Glen Norman
China may run a trade deficit by 2023, top economist suggests
For the full year of 2017, exports increased 7.9 percent and imports advanced 15.9 percent.
Customs data issued Friday showed exports rose 10.9 percent in December over a year earlier to $231.7 billion, down from the previous month's 12.3 percent growth.
In December, China's imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent from a year ago, while exports to the reclusive nation fell 23.4 percent in the same period.
In 2016, China exported US$40.37 billion worth of goods to Taiwan while it imported US$139.2 billion, an annual decrease of 10.1 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, the data showed.
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Trade with China is politically sensitive as the world's second-largest economy runs surpluses against many of its trading partners.
"We have long since expected China's domestic demand and imports to slow in 2018 on gradually tighter monetary and financial policies, and slower real estate activity", Kuijs said.
Despite the strong year, moment is likely to wane, with surveys showing falling confidence and new orders in December.
China's trade surplus with the European Union, its biggest trading partner, stood at US$14.6 billion last month.
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Solid global growth may provide some support for export growth, but, real effective exchange rate appreciation and an increase in USA protectionism could weigh on exports, narrowing the trade surplus further, according to securities trader Nomura.
Gao Feng, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, said on Thursday that both countries should manage their differences through dialogue to prevent them from escalating into conflict.
"Export growth declined slightly last month but remained healthy".
He estimated that imports declined by the biggest margin in nearly two years in volume terms in December as purchases of industrial commodities plummeted.
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"China's exports may continue to benefit from global recovery this year", said Ding Shuang, chief economist for Greater China and North Asia at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong.
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