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China’s August exports unexpectedly shrink as US tariffs bite

China’s exports unexpectedly contracted in August, with sales to the US tumbling amid the escalating trade war between the two nations.

Exports decreased one per cent in dollar terms from a year earlier, while imports declined 5.6 per cent, leaving a trade surplus of $34.84bn, the customs administration said. Economists had forecast that exports would grow 2.2 per cent, while imports would shrink by 6.4 per cent. Shipments to the US fell 16 per cent from a year earlier.

President Donald Trump’s administration raised tariffs on Chinese goods at the start of the month, and is set to ratchet up levies further in October and again in December if there is no breakthrough. China and the US will hold face-to-face trade negotiations in Washington in the coming weeks, after a rapid deterioration in relations last month left global investors reeling amid increasing evidence the conflict is harming both nations.


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