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China August exports unexpectedly shrink, imports remain weak

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By Reuters
China August exports unexpectedly shrink, imports remain weak
FILE PHOTO: A truck transports a container at a port in Qingdao, Shandong province, China July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer   -   Copyright  China Stringer Network(Reuters)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports unexpectedly fell 1% in August from a year earlier, customs data showed on Sunday, hurt by an intensifying Sino-U.S. trade war and persistently weak global demand.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected exports would rise 2.0% in the month, after a 3.3% gain in July.

Imports in August fell 5.6% from a year earlier, slightly less than a predicted drop of 6.0% and unchanged from a 5.6% decline in July.

That left China with a trade surplus of $350 million (285 million pounds) in August, compared with a $45.06 billion surplus in July. Analysts had forecast $43 billion.

August saw dramatic escalations in the bitter year-long trade row, with Washington announcing 15% tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods from Sept. 1. Beijing hit back with retaliatory levies, and let its yuan currency fall sharply to offset some of the tariff pressure.

More U.S. tariffs measures are set to take effect on Oct. 1 and Dec. 15.

China and the United States on Thursday agreed to hold high-level trade talks in early October in Washington, the first face-to-face discussions since a failed meeting at the end of July.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Richard Pullin)