China’s exports and imports fell further in October, according to customs data released on Friday.
Exports fell 0.9 percent in U.S. dollar terms, but that was better than the 3.9 percent drop that economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.
Exports to the United States improved but were still down 11 percent year over year. They had dropped 22 percent in September.
Meanwhile, imports fell 6.4 percent as China increased its purchases of U.S. agricultural goods. Economists were anticipating an 8.9 percent fall.
China’s trade surplus grew to $42.81 billion – ahead of the $39.65 billion that was expected and the $40.83 billion that economists were anticipating.
The U.S. and China have been engaged in a 16-month trade battle that has seen the world’s two economic superpowers slap tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of one another’s goods.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were hoping to ink a partial trade agreement at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile later this month, but the conference was canceled due to unrest in the country. The two sides continue to work toward finding a time and place to put something in writing.
However, Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at the London-based Capital Economics, says even if a deal is reached, it will unlikely alleviate “the main headwinds facing exporters.” He thinks subdued global growth will continue to hamper outbound shipments.