China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the spiraling trade war.
China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion, according to the customs administration.
The world’s top two economies imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.
“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday, adding that the overall situation could be controlled.
China’s overall trade surplus expanded to $31.6 billion, as exports rose faster than imports.
Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.
While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.
Some Asian stock markets opened in the red Friday, but losses were relatively muted as traders took a breather after a global rout sparked by fears over higher US interest rates.
Japan’s main Nikkei-225 index began the day more than one percent lower but bounced back in the first hour of trade.
Chinese stocks, which have seen a ferocious sell-off in recent days, also opened with marginal losses, the benchmark Shanghai Composite shedding 0.36 percent.
But the Kospi index in South Korea bucked the trend and was trading in the green, as was the Hang Seng in Hong Kong as markets in Asia started the fightback.
The past two days have seen something approaching panic in global equity markets, as investors took fright in the face of a perfect storm of rising US interest rates and an intensifying trade war between the US and China.
The global sell-off was also in part due to US President Donald Trump describing the policies of the Federal Reserve as “loco” and “crazy”, sparking concerns over the independence of the world’s top central bank.
“Markets are finding themselves in a total state of discombobulation as we mercifully head towards the weekend,” Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda, said in a commentary ahead of the opening bell in Japan.
“There have been multiple train wrecks over the past 24 hours, and the continuous wall of worry around US yields and US-China tension still weighs on equity sentiment,” he said.
After a see-saw session on Wall Street, the Dow Jones ended 2.1 percent down, taking its losses for the week to more than five percent and closing at the lowest levels in months.
Frankfurt, Paris and London all lost at least 1.5 percent as renewed worries over the eurozone came to the fore amid a budgetary scrap between the European Union and Italy.
Some experts warned that the correction, which came after many indices had hit multi-year highs, would be more than a flash in the pan.
“When we have a recalibration in values, it’s not surprising that it takes more than one day,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR.
“In these kinds of moves, it usually takes three days to wash out.”
Most market watchers saw last week’s surge in the yield of the 10-year US Treasury bond as the catalyst for the two-day rout in the US.
Yields spiked at an unexpectedly fast rate, prompting worries about a sudden acceleration of inflation and more aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
Volatility also spread to commodities with big drops in the price of oil after the OPEC cartel cut its forecast for global oil demand.
However, these markets also staged a come-back, bouncing around 19 cents in early Asian trade.