Markets

China's trade surplus with United States narrows in January

China's trade surplus with United States narrows in January

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet with top USA officials in Beijing this week, a report in the South China Morning Post said Wednesday, bolstering hopes for the talks and markets in Asia.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are meeting with China's top economic czar Liu He, seeking to build on progress made in Washington last month. -China talks that are set to conclude on Friday in Beijing.

US tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 % from 10 % if the two sides don't reach a deal by the deadline, increasing pressure and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture.

The two days of talks starting Thursday allow too little time to resolve the war over Beijing's technology ambitions that threatens to drag on weakening global economic growth, businesspeople and economists say.

US and Chinese negotiators opened talks Thursday on a sprawling trade dispute as Beijing reported its January exports rebounded despite President Donald Trump's tariff hikes.

"The downbeat outlook for global growth means that this year is likely to be challenging for Chinese exporters, even if the ongoing US-China trade negotiations culminate in a deal", Evans-Pritchard wrote in a research note. January cargoes were the second-highest monthly total on record and on an annualized basis concentrate imports could exceed 22m tonnes in 2019, beating the record set previous year of 19.7m tonnes.

President Trump is considering pushing back the deadline for imposing higher tariffs on Chinese imports by 60 days.

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The pair settled near the lower end of its daily trading range, albeit managed to find decent support on Thursday amid US-China trade optimism and better than expected Chinese trade balance figures.

Trump told reporters at the White House his administration has a "big team of people, very talented people, over in China right now, negotiating on the China deal".

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China's nationalist Global Times tabloid, also tweeted that speculation on an extension was "inaccurate", citing a source close to the talks. A meeting between Lighthizer and Chinese President Xi Jinping is being tentatively scheduled for this week. He's demanded that China close the gap by buying more American goods, in addition to stopping its purported practice of stealing technology from US companies.

The Chinese government has offered few details about the state of negotiations this week.

Since China joined the WTO in 2001 it has failed in its obligations to report state subsidies, another of the sources briefed on recent trade talks said.

The price of copper declined for a fifth day in a row on Thursday despite trade data showing Chinese imports of the orange metal growing at a record-setting pace.

China's soybean imports fell 13 percent in January from a year earlier, customs data showed, as a hefty duty on shipments from the United States, its second largest supplier, curbed purchases.