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    ‘Chinese Exporters Are Trying to Stuff the Basket’ – Professor

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    Asian markets have slumped amid reports of a slowdown in Chinese exports. Major shares in Asia-Pacific nations, as well as US stocks, tumbled earlier in the day.

    This comes as China announced that its exports to the US fell in December. Sputnik discussed this with Dr James Wang, professor of the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong.

    Sputnik: What prompted the fall in Asia-Pacific markets?

    James Wang: It's always difficult to pinpoint any single event, but the data that you've just cited about China's import-export numbers surely has disappointed investors.

    READ MORE: Chinese Exports Hit 2-Year Low Despite Record-High US Surplus

    Sputnik: Yet Chinese exports to the United States for the year rose more than 11 percent regardless of the US punitive measures. Why is that?

    James Wang: As we know, the higher tariffs were officially put on in the middle of last year, and that's only a part of the list of goods that China exported to the US. Prior to the kicking in of more anticipated tariffs, Chinese exporters tried to stuff the basket, so to speak, and they exported even more heavily to the US; and therefore the surplus.

    Sputnik: Analysts are raising fears of a sharper slowdown in global growth; how realistic is this?

    James Wang: I think that is a pretty real concern at this point. Any number of observers and institutions are adjusting downward expectations about 2019 and 2020, for multiple reasons. One is the well-known trade war between the US and China, and the dark clouds despite ongoing negotiations clearly haven't been totally lifted. And the other thing is the natural cycle of the Chinese economy; at this stage, it's on a downward part of the cycle; and therefore the anticipated slowdown. And the pace of the slowdown could be sharper than what people have previously anticipated.

    Sputnik: What markets will be most affected by this slowdown?

    James Wang: The Asia-Pacific markets and more so than the US market, for multiple reasons. China actually is extremely important for Southeast Asian economies, for example, for Hong Kong; and, of course, the Greater China Region would be affected.

    Sputnik: Some analysts remain optimistic about the US-China trade war, believing that the two nations will be able to overcome their differences. How likely is this?

    James Wang: [It's] more than 50/50. [There might be] some kind of agreement between the US and China. As you know, they have put that 90-day limit, or a deadline, starting from 1 December. The reason I say of some kind of agreement is because I think for a grand bargain, dealing with all kinds of contentious issues between these two economies would be a bit of a challenge; and to resolve the host of difficulties and structural problems in the Chinese economy, to the satisfaction of the US negotiators, would be not impossible but, I think, improbable at this stage.

    However, both sides do show a willingness to reach a compromise. I think, a partial agreement resolving some of the issues and extending the deadline to work on the remaining "tougher nuts", so to speak, would be, I think, the more likely outcome.

    The views and opinions expressed by the expert do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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