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China Trade, Inflation Data Holds Steady

The August trade and inflation data from China was mostly solid - a lot of silly talk about a smaller than expected rise in exports, while imports were higher overall and inflation was tame.

All in all the data matched the tone of the start of month surveys on manufacturing.

This week we get the rest of the monthly figures from China with loans figures and car sales for August out today and tomorrow and industrial production, retail sales, investment and housing figures from Thursday onwards. House Price figures are out at the end of this month.

Saturday’s consumer and producer inflation report though were a little stronger than forecast.

The producer price index rose 6.3% in August from a year earlier, and a 5.5% reading in July, while the consumer price index jumped 1.8%, compared with 1.4% a month earlierChina’s National Statistics Bureau said Saturday.

China’s imports grew 13.3% from a year earlier, while export growth slowed to 5.5%, down from 7.2% in July.

Export growth was the slowest since shipments fell in February. The mixed performance left China with a trade surplus of $US41.99 billion for August, the General Administration of Customs said, the lowest since May.

China’s iron ore imports edged up in in August.

Iron ore shipments reached 88.66 million tonnes last month, up 1.1% from a year ago and up 2.8% from July, according to the General Administration of Customs on Friday.

The world’s largest steel maker imported a total of 713.98 million tonnes of iron ore in the first eight months 2017, up 6.7% on a year ago and well on the way to topping the billion tonnes mark.

Reuters reported that stock of imported iron ore at China’s major ports in August fell to the lowest level since early May at 133.45 million tonnes.

China's coal imports rose to their highest level since December last year, reflecting increasing demand from power companies as they build stocks ahead of winter.

The August shipments rebounded to 25.27 million tonnes from a five-month low of 19.46 million tonnes in July, but they were still down 5% from a year ago,

For the first eight months of the year, coal shipments rose 14.2% to 177.82 million tonnes, reflecting stronger buying earlier in the year when domestic mine output was lower.

China’s crude oil imports rose 3.4% in August from a year earlier but that was the lowest monthly level since January,.

China imported 33.98 million tonnes of crude in August, or 8 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the Chinese General Administration of Customs. That compared with 8.18 million bpd in July.

Imports for the first eight months were up 12.2% from the same period a year ago to 281.05 million tonnes, or 8.44 million bpd.

And China’s imports of copper and copper products held steady for a fourth month in August, indicating demand remains robust in the world’s largest consumer of the metal despite surging prices.

Imports of unwrought copper totalled 390,000 tonnes last month, according to Friday’s release of official customs data. Monthly imports, which include anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished copper products, have been around that level since May.

The August figure was up 11.4% from 350,000 tonnes a year ago. Total unwrought copper imports for the first eight months of 2017 were 3.01 million tonnes, down 12.8% from a year earlier, customs said.

View More Articles By Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.



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