China trade weakens as exports fall for the second consecutive year

Economy - Himanshu Gill - Jan 13,2017

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china trade weakens as exports fall for the second consecutive year

China’s weakening economy suffered another massive blow as its huge export line tumbled for the second year in a row in 2016, owing to weaker demands in major markets.

The outlook for 2017 still remains gloomy due to global political uncertainties. Chinese trade officials warned that the country’s $2 trillion export machine might continue to deteriorate as the newly elected US President Donald Trump is more hostile to Chinese products and threatens to levy heavy taxes.

The world's largest trading nation posted a gloomy report, with exports falling by 7.7 percent and imports down by 5.5 percent in 2016 (in terms of US dollars). The fall in exports was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2008-09.

China’s customs agencies fear greater protectionist measures globally would further degrade the country’s trade. Even if the Trump administration takes no strong step against Chinese traders immediately, analysts speculate that the specter of degrading US-China trade and political ties is likely to weigh on the confidence of exporters and investors worldwide.

China's exports slumped even further in the last month of 2016 as global trade remained sluggish, while the growth in imports was also nowhere near expectations. For December, exports fell by 6.1 percent from the same period the previous year in dollar-denominated terms, as compared to a 0.1 percent increase in the previous month.

Meanwhile, imports rose by 3.1 percent from a year ago, down from November's growth of 6.7 percent. December's trade balance stood at $40.82 billion, compared to $44.61 billion in the previous month.

Trade tensions between the two biggest economies are pinching companies as they fear to pay higher taxes or being kicked out completely from their trading grounds.