China's exports grew more-than-expected in September despite the worsening trade dispute with the U.S., but the increase in imports slowed, reflecting softening domestic demand, figures from the Customs Administration revealed Friday.
Exports grew 14.5 percent year-on-year in September, faster than the 9.8 percent increase seen in August and the expected increase of 8.8 percent.
At the same time, imports advanced 14.3 percent annually compared to the forecast of 12.4 percent and August's 19.9 percent rise. As a result, the trade surplus increased to around $32 billion in September, but below the forecast of $38 billion.
The surplus with the U.S. reached another record of $34.1 billion in September from $31.1 billion in August.
The big picture is that the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
However, the economist noted that with global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained.
Meanwhile, with policy easing unlikely to put a floor beneath domestic economic activity until the middle of next year, import growth is set to slow further too, the economist added.