China Sept unwrought copper imports hit highest since March

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

China's trade with North Korea fell sharply in September as sanctions finally began to bite, data released by the Chinese government on Friday (Oct 13) showed.

Imports grew 18.7 percent in September from a year earlier, beating analysts' forecasts for a 13.5 percent expansion and accelerating from 13.3 percent in August, customs data showed on Friday.

North Korea's deficit with China more than tripled in the first nine months of the year from the same period in 2016, to US$1.07 billion, he said, without giving further explanation.

Successive rounds of United Nations sanctions have cut off more than 90 per cent of North Korea's publicly reported exports - including coal, iron ore, seafood and, most recently, textiles - and have restricted the regime's ability to earn foreign currency by sending workers overseas.


China says it has implemented successive rounds of sanctions agreed by the UN Security Council meant to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programme.

"Nonetheless, today's figures suggest that not only has strong foreign demand continued to prop up manufacturing activity in China but domestic demand remains resilient, too", Evans-Pritchard said.

Arrivals of unwrought copper, which includes anode, refined, and semi-finished copper products, stood at 430,000 tonnes last month, according tocalculations based on the data from the General Administration of Customs.

Iron ore imports rose to a record 103 million tonnes, from 88.7 million tonnes in August, according to Reuters calculations. Still, Beijing is reluctant to trigger an economic collapse and chaos over its shared 1,350-kilometre border. USA officials have resumed criticizing Chinese policy after President Donald Trump said in April he would temporarily shelve disputes while Washington and Beijing cooperated on North Korea.


Though North Korea's exports declined via official channels there is evidence that the country is smuggling shipments to and from China.

However, while China's imports reading beat forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, exports fell slightly short.

As result, the trade surplus totaled USD28.47 billion in September versus the expected level of USD38.0 billion.

China has been credited with helping to support global demand and weaker imports might hurt suppliers for whom this country is a major market.


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