China’s imports tumbled in May and a surprise rise in exports wasn’t enough to dispel concerns that the economic dispute with the U.S. will intensify and damage the global economy.
Imports declined by 8.5% in May from a year earlier, according to the customs administration, more than double the forecast drop. While exports rose 1.1% compared to an expected decline, shipments to the U.S. fell for a second month.
The fall in imports underscores the weakness of the domestic economy while the uptick in exports may well prove temporary, as it’s likely driven by manufacturers front-loading shipments ahead of threatened new U.S. tariffs. That’s worrying for the global economy, and with no sign of any breakthrough so far between the U.S. and China, it only increases the importance of a possible meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G-20 leaders summit in Osaka later this month.
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