China’s exports dropped sharply by 1.1% in November from a year earlier, according to customs data, marking the fourth consecutive month that Chinese exports have declined.
Imports rose unexpectedly by 0.3% in November from a year earlier — the first increase since April.
The country’s trade surplus for November stood at $38.73 billion.
According to a Reuters poll, analysts had forecast a 1.0% increase in exports, a 1.8% decline in imports and a surplus of $46.30 billion.
China’s exports to the US fell 23% in November, the steepest decline since February.
Exports to the US have been affected by the ongoing trade war between the two nations — it’s been 17 months since the US imposed 25% tariffs on the first tranche of Chinese imports.
While China and the US are currently negotiating a phase one trade deal, there is still a lot of uncertainty about its progress.
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that trade talks with China are “moving right along”. However, China has said that existing tariffs must be removed as part of any interim deal.
The next tranche of US tariffs on Chinese imports is set to take effect next week.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the 15 December deadline for a fresh wave of tariffs (on some $156 billion of China’s remaining exports to the US) is still in place.
According to Reuters, one Chinese official said that if the Dec. 15 tariffs do go into place China will implement its own tariffs in retaliation.
It’s unclear how the two nations will be able to iron out a deal if the tit for tat trade tariffs continue.