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China winning trade war with US as trade surplus widens to over US$300b

CHINA's trade surplus with the US has grown almost 25 per cent since the start of the Trump presidency, exceeding US$300 billion on an annualised basis, Bloomberg reported citing Jim McCormick of NatWest Markets

21 September 2020 - 19:00

CHINA's trade surplus with the US has grown almost 25 per cent since the start of the Trump presidency, exceeding US$300 billion on an annualised basis, Bloomberg reported citing Jim McCormick of NatWest Markets.

China is also nowhere near on track to meet its target of increasing imports from the US under the partial deal (also called 'phase 1') to end the trade conflict, the signal accomplishment of Mr Trump's tariff tit-for-tat.



The nation's GDP surged as a result of its vastly more effective response to the pandemic that began there. China, Mr McCormick notes, is the only country among 48 to have reported a second-quarter gross domestic product number that was higher than at the end of 2019. In the US, the worst country when it comes to the coronavirus (as measured by death and infections), the economy shrank 9.5 per cent in the second quarter, a drop that equals an annualised pace of 32.9 per cent, its sharpest downturn since at least the 1940s.



The Chinese currency is on a tear, climbing for the eighth week in a row, its longest run of gains since February 2018. Global bond funds are pouring into the country - one that still offers yields. Meanwhile, the dollar is slumping.



Behind these headline numbers also are deeper industrial trends, which again work in China's favour, helping it pick up global market share in the aftermath of Covid-19 lockdowns. Increasingly, China is supplying the kind of sophisticated machinery that German manufacturers once dominated, like high-end tunnel borers and hydraulic valves and pumps used in wind turbines.



'It's only a matter of time until Chinese firms are No 1,' says Ulrich Ackermann, managing director for foreign trade at Germany's VDMA Mechanical Engineering Industry Association.



The net result of Mr Trump's efforts to decouple the US and Chinese economies is to push China even further toward self-sufficiency, a strategy set to be enshrined in China's new five-year plan at a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee next month.


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