China’s trade surplus with the United States surged to a record in August despite U.S. tariff hikes, according to new data from China’s General Administration of Customs.
The surplus hit 31.05 billion U.S. dollars in August, up from 28.09 billion dollars in July and surpassing the previous record set in June.
Over the first eight months of the year, China’s surplus with its largest export market has risen nearly 15 percent, adding to tensions in the trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
China’s annual export growth in August moderated slightly to 9.8 percent, the weakest rate since March but only slightly below recent trends, the data released on Saturday showed.
Even with U.S. tariffs targeting 50 billion dollars of Chinese exports in effect for their first full month in August, China’s exports to the United States still accelerated, growing 13.2 percent from a year earlier from 11.2 percent in July.
“There is still an impact from front-loading of exports, but the main reason (for still-solid export growth) is the strong growth in the U.S. economy,” said Zhang Yi, an economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management.
Zhang said the impact from U.S. tariffs on China’s exports would likely be limited over the next few months.
China’s imports from the United States grew only 2.7 percent in August, a slowdown from 11.1 percent in July.
Trump upped the ante on Friday, warning he was ready to slap tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports to the United States, threatening duties on another 267 billion U.S. dollars of goods on top of 200 billion U.S. dollars in imports primed for levies in coming days.
Washington has long criticized China’s huge trade surplus with the United States and has demanded Beijing reduce it.