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China buys fewer American goods in May; the trade surplus is growing

7. Workers load goods for crane export to a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China, June 7, 2019.


BEIJING – China bought fewer US products in May than the previous month, while exports to the United States increased, according to customs data released on Monday.

China bought $ 1

3.11 billion worth of goods from the United States in May, up from $ 13.94 billion in April, according to data available through Wind Information. Data for May show the lowest monthly amount since October, the data show.

While total Chinese imports from other countries grew at their fastest pace in 10 years – by 51.1%, the growth rate of US imports slowed to 41% in May compared to 52% the previous month.

As a result, China’s trade surplus with the United States rose to $ 31.78 billion in May from $ 28.11 billion in April. The increase comes despite efforts by former US President Donald Trump to reduce that surplus.

According to the Peterson-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, China is still lagging behind in its agreement to buy more US goods, as set out in the first phase of a trade agreement signed in January 2020.

The United States remains China’s largest trading partner on a country-by-country basis, despite trade tensions. For the first time in two weeks, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Trade Representative Catherine Thai spoke separately with Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He under President Joe Biden.

Chinese exports to the United States rose to $ 44.89 billion in May from $ 42.05 billion in April. However, the growth rate slowed to 21% on an annual basis from 31% in April.

Overall, Chinese exports also grew at a slower pace – by 27.9% in dollar terms in May compared to a year earlier, compared to 32.3% in April.

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