China June soybean imports fall on trade war, deadly pig disease

China June soybean imports fall on trade war, deadly pig disease

Beijing's retaliatory tariffs past year on imports of agricultural goods have slammed many farmers - a key Trump constituency - forcing bankruptcies and a slowdown in farm lending as many operations struggle and fall deeper into debt.

When it comes to Chinese purchases of USA agricultural goods, signs are growing that President Donald Trump won't get what he wants anytime soon.

China's exports likely fell in June as weakening global demand and a sharp hike in USA tariffs took a heavier toll on the world's largest trading nation, a Reuters poll showed.

China's global exports sank 1.3 percent to $212.8 billion while imports fell 7.3 percent to $161.9 billion. Altogether the two giants have slapped each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade, damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific. Beijing's manufacturing activity also contracted last month.

Trump met his counterpart Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan in June and agreed to revive negotiations, but a trade agreement looks increasingly distant.

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A steady performance of the domestic economy could provide Beijing with fresh confidence to take a harder stance in talks with Washington, as it would indicate the U.S. tariffs and the acceleration of the relocation of manufacturing from China to Southeast Asian countries has not derailed growth. China's total exports ticked up 0.1 percent on-year during the first six months while imports fell 4.3 percent.

Imports fell 7.3 percent, a sharper drop than the 4.5 percent forecast by analysts and following a 8.5 percent contraction in May, suggesting domestic demand remains tepid despite a flurry of growth boosting measures since a year ago. Purchases from the United States have collapsed, with imports in January-June shrinking to $58.9 billion from $84 billion past year - a roughly 30 percent drop in purchases which has hit American farmers particularly hard. It rose to $29.9 billion in June, from $26.9 billion in May.

"Macroeconomic indicators of growth, employment and consumer prices are all in normal ranges", said Liu, the top economic aide to President Xi Jinping and China's top negotiator in trade talks with the Trump administration, according to the official state-run Xinhua News Agency. During the first half of the year, it expanded to $140.5 billion from $133.8 billion last year.

But data released on Thursday (July 11) by the US Department of Agriculture indicate that China actually slowed its purchases of American agriculture products following the G-20 meeting.

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