China's gas imports jump to record high as winter weather bites

China's gas imports jump to record high as winter weather bites

China's gas imports jump to record high as winter weather bites

China's $275.8 billion surplus a year ago surpassed the previous record of $261 billion in 2015, according to Chinese data.

Estimates by the General Administration of Customs has showed that Chinese exports to Russia rose 14.8 percent to $42.9 billion a year ago, while Russian exports were up 27.7 percent to $41.2 billion.

The European Union, US and ASEAN remain China's top three trade partners, representing almost 42 percent of the total volume, while trade with Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan saw rapid growth of between 20 and 40 percent due to the new Silk Road scheme. Russian Federation estimated in 2016 that the annual trade flows between the two world powers were at $66.1 billion.

Customs is expected to release dollar-denominated trade data later on Friday.

In December, China's imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent from a year ago, while exports to the reclusive nation fell 23.4 percent in the same period.

Tackling the trade gap between the US and China - which Washington has said is US$100 billion wider than Beijing has reported - was one of US President Donald Trump's election campaign promises, though his administration did not address the matter directly in his first year in the White House.

A commerce ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said at a briefing on Thursday that China will "adopt all measures necessary to firmly protect the country's lawful interests and rights, should the US perversely take unilateral protectionist actions". US figures put the 2015 deficit with China at $367 billion.

ANZ analyst Betty Wang said that even though a broad-based bilateral trade war is "highly unlikely" in 2018, it is possible that the US will take "unilateral actions on Chinese exports in specific sectors". That was down 12 percent from November's 9.01 million bpd, the second-highest level on record.

Commenting on the trade issue, Huang Songping (黃頌平), spokesman of the General Administration of Customs, said that there is hope for deeper cross-strait cooperation, with trade becoming stronger this year as long as factors that dampen relations between the two sides can be eliminated. "In contrast, import growth slowed sharply, raising questions over the state of domestic demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, an analyst with research firm Capital Economics in Singapore, said in a note.

The drop contributed to an overall deceleration in China's imports and exports, which highlighted ebbing momentum in the world's second-largest economy.

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