China's export fall in December amid ongoing US-China trade war

For 2018, vegetable oil imports rose 9 percent to 6.29 million tonnes.

Chinese exporters also face pressure from cooling consumer demand in other global markets.

China's politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States surged to a record $323.3 billion in 2018 as a tariff battle with Washington intensified.

The dismal December trade readings suggest China's economy may have lost more momentum late in the year than earlier thought, despite a slew of growth boosting measures in recent months ranging from higher infrastructure spending to tax cuts.

China's exports to the United States grew by 11.3 percent in 2018, year-on-year to $478.4bn, while imports of USA goods rose slightly by 0.7 percent compared to 2017.

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"Meanwhile, with policy easing unlikely to put a floor beneath domestic economic activity until the second half of this year, import growth is likely to remain subdued".

The Trump administration also wants Beijing to buy more American goods to narrow a yawning trade gap - a sticking point for USA president - and allow foreign players better access to the Chinese market.

However, Beijing's export data had been surprisingly resilient to tariffs for much of 2018, possibly because companies ramped up shipments before broader and stiffer US duties went into effect.

Customs data released Monday show exports rose 11.3 percent to $478.4 billion despite President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own. Both were the worst result since 2016, and left a trade surplus of $57.1 billion.

Customs has not yet released information on US-China bilateral trade, but China's imports of soybeans fell by 7.9 per cent previous year to 88 million tons. Absent the tariffs, it is likely the surplus would have been even higher. Russian Federation is now ranked as China's tenth biggest trade partner.

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