China on Friday reported a sharp drop in trade with North Korea in 2017.
He estimated that, according to the American government's means of calculation - which usually produce higher balance numbers than the Chinese numbers - China's trade surplus against the USA may have reached $376 billion in 2017.
Recently, acting Governor of the Far Eastern region Andrei Tarasenko told Sputnik, that the turnover between Russia's Primorsky Territory and China increased by 14 percent or $2.5 billion over the first nine months of 2017.
But weaker growth in December reinforced evidence of slowing momentum in the world's second-biggest economy, as the government's intensified war on pollution and a crackdown on debt risks weigh on activity.
"I think the [December] slowdown is really mild - mostly in line with seasonality", said Victor You, an analyst with CLSA in Hong Kong, who tracks China's iron ore, coal, copper and copper concentrate imports, as well as its exports of steel products and aluminum.
Imports of soybeans hit their second-highest monthly total in December of 9.55 million tonnes, and a record 95.54 million tonnes for the year.
"Downside risks remain, in particular from more forceful US trade restrictions on Chinese exports", Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics said in a report.
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Washington has also launched the procedure for a probe into whether Chinese companies are stealing the intellectual property of US companies. The U.S.is expected to release the findings of the investigation soon.
ANZ analyst Betty Wang said that even though a broad-based bilateral trade war is "highly unlikely" in 2018, it is possible that the USA will take "unilateral actions on Chinese exports in specific sectors".
In December, China's exports jumped 10.9% from a year ago to $231.8 billion, down from a 12.3% pace in the previous month.
December gas imports, including pipeline imports and tanker shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), came in at 7.89 million tonnes, 20% above November's previous record of 6.55 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. The rate is also a steep fall from November's 17.7 percent.
"Export growth declined slightly last month but remained healthy".
"Import growth outpaced that of exports significantly for the whole year of 2017, indicating that China's growth profile has been experiencing a transition as domestic demand has been picking up", said Zhou Hao, a senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank in Singapore. That could mean softening demand for imports as Chinese businesses and consumers tighten their belts. Prices were around 5,500 yuan (US$848.44) per tonne this week, off 45% from peaks seen in late December.