China's March trade balance weakens

The trade surplus with the USA contracted 13 percent from a year earlier, while China's global trade balance swung to a US$5 billion deficit.

That sent its quarterly trade surplus with the United States surging 19.4% to US$58.25 billion, though the March reading narrowed to US$15.43 billion from US$20.96 billion in February.

The statistical authority also said the U.S.is the top export market for the European Union with exports amounting to €61.7 billion ($75.9 billion), accounting for 20.58 percent of the 28 countries' exports in January and February.

Broad M2 money supply grew 8.2 percent in March from a year earlier, central bank data showed on Friday, missing forecasts for an expansion of 8.9 percent and compared with 8.8 percent in February.

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March import growth of 14.4 percent beat expectations, however, suggesting China's domestic demand may still be solid enough to cushion the blow from any trade shocks.

According to an article Thursday in the WS-J, siting un-named sources, next week the US Trade Representative may lay out in detail the products on $100-B list of Chinese goods that may be subject to 25% import tariffs. Its imports from the U.S. rose 8.9 percent in the quarter and 3.2 percent in March.

Analysts expected China would record a trade surplus of US$27.21 billion for last month, from February's surplus of US$33.75 billion.

In 2017, China imported 1.4 billion bushels of USA soybeans, 62 percent of total US exports and almost one-third of USA annual soy production.

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China registered a rare deficit of $4.98 billion with the rest of the world last month owing to seasonal factors such as the Lunar New Year holiday.

Imports of commodities continued to lead the way in March, with shipments of copper, crude oil, iron ore and soybeans all rising from the previous month.

Heisdorffer, who farms in Keota, Iowa, highlighted the importance of maintaining China as a robust market for USA soybean exports, and the lasting effects implemented tariffs and a trade war would have on soybean farmers. US President Donald Trump has threatened a series of tariffs on hund-reds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods, sparking tit-for-tat warnings from Beijing. China exported US$137.8 billion worth of high-tech products in the first quarter, up 20.5% on-year.

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