BEIJING—China’s political sensitive trade surplus with the United States widened in May from a year earlier, while its total global surplus shrank as imports accelerated.
Imports rose 26 per cent from a year ago to US$187.9 billion, up from April’s 21.5 per cent growth, customs data showed Friday. Exports rose 12.6 per cent to $212.9 billion, little changed from the previous month’s 12.9 per cent.
China’s trade gap with the United States widened by 12 per cent to $24.6 billion. The country’s global surplus narrowed by 39 per cent to $24.9 billion.
“With global growth now past its peak, Chinese export growth is trending down,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report. “But progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations raises hopes that a sharp downturn in shipments can be avoided.”
President Donald Trump has threatened tariff hikes on up to $150 billion of Chinese goods in disputes over Beijing’s trade surplus with the United States and technology policy.
Tension eased Thursday when the United States agreed to lift a ban on access to U.S. companies for a Chinese technology company, ZTE Corp. But the two sides still are embroiled in a broader dispute.
Beijing has cut import duties on automobiles and some consumer goods and to ease curbs on foreign ownership in its auto industry.
“Even if a trade war is avoided, Chinese trade growth is still likely to edge down over the coming year as the global economy loses momentum,” said Evans-Pritchard.