China's trade data just breezed past expectations

Chinese Trade With North Korea Jumped 10.5% In The First Half Of This Year, According To China Customs Data

Steel prices have rebounded this week, and now there may be more fuel for this rally following the release of data that showed China's steel exports fell in June, by 2.4% to 6.81 million tons.

Notably, the total volume of imports and exports between China and North Korea also increased - by 10.5 percent year-on-year.

"The trade growth between China and North Korea in the first half of the year was mainly driven by exports", Huang said, adding that the exports were mainly labor-intensive products like textiles, which are not banned under United Nations resolutions.

The new data reflects China's attempt to pull off a delicate balancing act between the USA and North Korea, where it wants to prevent the regime collapsing because it worries about what that would mean for regional stability.

China's trade with North Korea, which is subject to strict global sanctions linked to its ongoing nuclear weapons program, rose more than 10% in the first half of this year, a customs official said, to just over $2.5 billion, with exports rising 29.1%.

The customs' data showed that during the first six months, trade with the European Union jumped 17.4 percent year on year.

Iron ore is among China's biggest imports from the North after it stopped buying coal this year due to the sanctions.

"Simple accumulated data can not be used as evidence to question China's severe attitude in carrying out UN Security Council resolutions", Huang told a news briefing.

Washington says the exercises are needed to maintain defenses against North Korea and US officials say Beijing could face USA economic and trade pressure unless it does more to rein in North Korea.

Asked about the surge in China's imports of North Korean iron ore and in China's ethanol exports to North Korea in recent months, Huang said that trade with North Korea for civilian use was allowed despite the sanctions. The surplus with the United States was China's largest since October 2015.

Since the July 4 ballistic missile test, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has been pushing for fresh measures that may include further curbs on China's trade with North Korea. "We are skeptical that the current pace of imports can be sustained for much longer given the increasing headwinds to China's economy from policy tightening".

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