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China's 2019 Export Growth the Slowest in Three Years

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01/13/2020 | 11:01pm EST

BEIJING-China's exports grew at the slowest pace in three years, as two years of trade tensions with the U.S. weighed on the Chinese economy amid a global slowdown.

Chinese exports rose 0.5% in 2019, compared with 2018's increase of nearly 10%, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Tuesday. Imports dropped 2.8% last year, after surging 16% in 2018.

China's foreign trade improved in December due to thawing U.S.-China trade tensions and Beijing's recent efforts to spur domestic economic growth.

China's December exports rose 7.6% on year, compared with November's 1.1% decline, customs data showed. A Wall Street Journal poll of economists had predicted a 4.0% increase. China's imports climbed 16.3% on year in December, following November's 0.3% increase , the customs data showed. The poll had forecast December's imports would rise 9.0%.

The country's overall trade surplus stood at $46.79 billion in December, wider than November's $38.73 billion surplus.

The data came just ahead of the signing of a phase-one trade deal between the U.S. and China on Jan. 15. The partial trade deal, the first full pause in the two-year trade war, includes Chinese pledges to buy American goods and some changes to China's economic system.

-- Liyan Qi

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