Chinese exports slide as trade war weighs heavily

Asian markets mixed with US rally unable to inspire

One Chinese official told Reuters that China will implement its own tariffs as a countermeasure if the December 15 tariffs go into place, which may dash any chance of a near-term trade deal.

China's November soybean imports jumped from a year ago as shipments from the United States cleared customs after they were booked during a truce in the Sino-U.S. trade war, customs data showed.

USA and Chinese language negotiators are scheduled to begin a 13th round of talks Thursday geared toward ending a 15-month trade struggle that's worrying global buyers and weighing on the world economic system.

President Donald Trump had told reporters late last week that talks with China were going well and hinted that he may not place new tariffs on Chinese goods on December 15th as planned.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.3%, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3%. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, edged up 0.01%, or 0.18 point, to 1,640.51.

US soybean futures rose for a fifth straight session on Monday to their highest in two weeks as Chinese importers resumed buying.

China's global exports fell by 1.1% from a year earlier to $221.7 billion.

The market has been largely working on the assumption that those tariffs, which cover several consumer products such as cellphones and toys, will be dropped or at least postponed, given that Washington and Beijing agreed in October to work on a trade deal.

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Chinese shares closed 0.2% lower, their losses checked by a rise in imports that was interpreted as a sign that Beijing's stimulus steps are helping to stoke demand.

Total Chinese exports were off 2.5% from a year earlier despite weakening global demand while imports were up 0.2%.

Several big events are due this week: The Federal Reserve meets on Wednesday, and new European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde holds her first policy meeting on Thursday, the same day as Britain's parliamentary election.

In the year to November, exports to the USA were down 11.1%, an acceleration on the year-to-date fall of 10.6% seen in October, and a stark contrast to growth of 28.5% a year earlier.

The pound rose 0.2% to $1.316, its highest since March.

Brent futures were down 44 cents, or 0.68%, at $63.95 per barrel by 0935 GMT, after gaining about 3% last week on news that OPEC and its allies would deepen output cuts.

Sterling jumped awaiting Thursday's United Kingdom election that is expected to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives win a big enough majority to push through his Brexit deal.

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