India's March exports fall amid trade tensions

China releases its trade data for March. Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie reports

China releases its trade data for March. Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie reports

However, Xuzhou, an industrial city in eastern China's province of Jiangsu, was also on the list of the 10 smoggiest cities in March and during the first quarter, a sign that China's smog is shifting from its northern heartlands as a result of the crackdown.

Even as China's trade surplus narrowed overall in the first three months of the year, its surplus with the USA surged 19.4 percent to $58.25 billion from a year earlier, customs data showed on Friday.

March import growth beat expectations, however, suggesting its domestic demand may still be solid enough to cushion the blow from any trade shocks. China says it needs to ensure its trade routes remain safe but Indian Navy has assured that it is capable and is keeping a very close watch on every movement here.

China's military will hold live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait next week, putting new focus on raised tensions between the US and China.

The latest data showed China continues to benefit from the two-way trade.

During the first quarter, the levels of PM2.5 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which has been under heavy political pressure to tackle pollution, dropped 22.1 percent to 74 micrograms per cubic metre, down from near record highs in the same period of past year.

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While U.S. officials, including Trump, have recently expressed optimism that the two sides would hammer out a trade deal, Chinese officials in recent days have said negotiations would be impossible under "current circumstances".

But analysts said the trade threats may already be having an impact on exporters' activity.

"This year, we will considerably reduce auto import tariffs, and at the same time reduce import tariffs on some other products", Xi said.

Hainan, often billed as China's Hawaii, will become a "free trade port", China National Radio reported Friday. But the solid global growth outlook may provide some buffer. He then went on to say that China's task of building a powerful navy "has never been as urgent as it is today".

Meanwhile, China's trade surplus with the 28-nation European Union, its biggest trading partner, shrank by half from a year ago to $3.6 billion.

China registered a rare deficit of $4.98 billion with the rest of the world last month owing to seasonal factors such as the Lunar New Year holiday.

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For Jan-March, imports rose a strong 18.9 percent on-year.

But economists and trade experts are especially concerned that Trump and his aides consistently focus on the USA trade deficit with China, which totals over $375 billion.

Imports of commodities continued to lead the way in March, with shipments of copper, crude oil, iron ore and soybeans all rising from the previous month.

China's exports rode a global trade boom past year, expanding at the fastest pace since 2013 and serving as one of the key drivers behind the economy's forecast-beating 6.9 percent expansion.

Its surplus with the United States rose 19.4 percent on-year to $58 billion in January-March, with exports up 14.8 percent and imports 8.9 percent higher, according to a spokesman for the customs administration.

China's trade surplus with the United States stood at USD58.3 billion in the first quarter.

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The strikes were carried out by manned aircraft and from ships that launched cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea. French and British warplanes also fired long-range missiles, while a British submarine launched cruise missiles.

Nevertheless, the news from Beijing was good this week.

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