Imports drop in May as US trade falls sharply

It would seem that the US-China trade war is having it hardest impact on sales of U.S. goods in China, not the other way round. The country’s trade surplus surged last month to its highest level this year, as imports fell 8.5% YoY to $172.2 billion, led by a whopping 26.8% fall in imports from the U.S.

The overall import number marked the steepest decline in three years and was well ahead of consensus forecasts for a 3.5% drop.

Exports, on the other hand, appear to be holding up. They edged up 1.1% year-on-year to $213.9 billion in May after a 2.7% decrease the month before. That beat economists’ median forecast of a 3.9% decline. It was despite exports to the U.S. falling 4.2% year-on-year to $37.7 billion. They now account for around 18% of China’s overall exports.

The overall surplus swelled to $41.7 billion in May, the highest since December and more than triple April’s $13.8 billion. It was up 67.5% from a year earlier.

Guangdong’s trade figures have not yet been released, but the province’s share of the national total have been rising so far this year. However, May was the month when Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies was put on the US blacklist, so all eyes will be on the provincial data when it is released.

Read more at Caixin Global.