Chinese-Russian Trade Grows 2.2% in 2016

Chinese-Russian Trade Grows 2.2% in 2016

China's foreign trade surplus narrowed to 3.35 trillion yuan (about 486 billion US dollars) in 2016, down 9.1 percent from a year earlier, customs data showed Friday.

China's exports in 2016 dropped 7.7% to $2.09 trillion, sliding further from a fall of 2.9% in the year prior, according to the General Administration of Customs, which released the data.

China approved 227 projects worth 1.704 trillion yuan ($246.55 billion) in 2016, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said, says a Reuters report.

Exports slipped 6.1 percent to US$209.4 billion last month, data showed, much worse than the 4 percent tipped in a survey by Bloomberg News.

"There remain some obstacles facing China's foreign trade development", Customs spokesman Huang Songping told reporters at a news conference announcing the results, adding the worldwide trading environment was "severe and complex".

Trump open to lifting Russia sanctions after 20 January
Trump open to lifting Russia sanctions after 20 January

While campaigning for the presidency, Trump pledged to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on his first day in office and threatened to slap high tariffs on Chinese goods.

Analysts agreed it would be tough for foreign trade to improve this year, especially if the inauguration of Donald Trump and other major political changes limited the growth of China's exports due to greater protectionist measures.

With China - which has become a global economic steamroller for the better part of the last two decades - now trending downward and given Trump's consistent bashing of its economic and foreign policies, analysts are anxious a trade war is on the horizon. Its foreign trade surplus narrowed to 3.35 trillion yuan (€3.15 trillion) in 2016, down 9.1 per cent from a year earlier. But officials are likely to be even more anxious about this year as they are closely watching potential threats against trade that incoming United States president Donald Trump could impose on the country.

The drop back in trade growth is still concerning given that the current environment of rising prices and relatively buoyant global manufacturing growth ought to have been supportive of Chinese trade values, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

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