China's monthly trade surplus with the United States hits a record high in June, amid a bitter trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
Washington has warned it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500bn worth of Chinese goods - almost the total amount of United States imports from China previous year. Both official and private business surveys reported softer export orders last month as the trade row deepens.
China's exports to the United States rose 13.6 percent in the first half of 2018 from a year earlier, while its imports from the USA rose 11.8 percent in the same period.
The record deficit last month threatens to irritate the White House, which wants to see the extra tariffs on imports reversing the recent trend.More news: US forces European Union into buying LNG
But signs exporters were rushing shipments before tariffs went into effect in the first week of July suggest the spike in the surplus was a one-off, with analysts expecting a less favourable trade balance for China in coming months as duties on exports start to bite. Washington has warned that it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than 500-billion-dollars worth of Chinese goods.
For January-June, it rose to $133.76 billion, compared with about $117.51 billion in the same period a year ago.
US President Donald Trump had already threatened to impose additional tariffs if China - the world's largest exporter - retaliates. China said the two sides were not discussing restarting trade negotiations.
Not unexpectedly, several readers have expressed concern about the possible impact of the introduction of new USA tariffs on Chinese, Canadian and European imports on Australian and world share markets. They said as a outcome figures for July and August were likely to show a decline in exports to the US.More news: Brit exposed to deadly nerve agent regains consciousness
"Targeting such a large amount of basic consumers will inevitably have an effect on U.S. inflation". The trade surplus was 261.88 billion yuan last month, official data showed.
David Kuo, chief executive of the Motley Fool Singapore, said "US tariffs will increase the cost of Chinese imports but they are unlikely to deter United States consumers entirely".
In yuan terms, China's exports grew 3.1% in June and imports rose 6.0%. So far, encouraged by strong job growth and expectations of good quarterly earnings reports, USA markets have been strong and the Australian market has reached a 10-year record high.
"So we would be back to square one", Mr Kuo said, with China exporting more to the U.S. than it buys from the country.More news: Solar eclipse on July 13: How to watch, timings, etc
Companies worry the spiralling dispute might dampen global trade and economic growth.