China’s trade surplus with the United States widened to a record of $31.05 billion in August from $28.09 billion recorded in July 2018.
According to the Chinese customs data, this surpassed the previous record set in June this year even as the country’s export growth slowed slightly.
Over the first eight months of the year, China’s surplus with its largest export market has risen nearly 15 percent, adding to tensions in the trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
China’s annual export growth in August moderated slightly to 9.8 percent, the data showed, the weakest rate since March but only slightly below recent trends.
The number missed analysts’ forecasts that shipments from the world’s largest exporter would rise 10.1 percent, slowing only slightly from 12.2 percent in July.
Even with U.S. tariffs targeting $50 billion of Chinese exports in effect for their first full month in August, China’s exports to the United States still accelerated, growing 13.2 percent from a year earlier from 11.2 percent in July.
“There is still an impact from front-loading of exports, but the main reason (for still-solid export growth) is strong growth in the U.S. economy,” said Zhang Yi, an economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management.
Zhang said the impact from U.S. tariffs on China’s exports would likely be limited over the next few months.
China’s imports from the United States grew only 2.7 percent in August, a slowdown from 11.1 percent in July.
Meanwhile, the United States President, Donald Trump, last Friday, warned that he was ready to slap tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports to the United States, threatening duties on another $267 billion of goods on top of $200 billion in imports primed for levies in coming days.