Despite Trump efforts, United States trade deficit with China hits record

A worker sorting canned peaches for export at a factory in Xiayi in China's central Henan province

Official data shows China's monthly trade surplus with the United States was almost 29-billion-dollars.

The politically-sensitive data comes as sides have imposed 25% tariffs on 34-billion-dollars of the others' imports.

This prompted Beijing to accuse Washington of launching the "largest trade war" in economic history, while immediately matching the USA tariffs dollar for dollar.

China's monthly trade surplus with the United States hits a record high in June, amid a bitter trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

"Those talks produced progress, so much so that the USA government said they would put the trade war on hold, but all of a sudden an announcement was made to impose tariffs on imports from China". Washington has warned it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - almost the total amount of USA imports from China a year ago.

Imports grew 14.1% in June from a year ago, well below the 26% increase in May and economists' forecast of a 23.5% gain.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as U.S. tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics in Singapore wrote in a note, though he noted a weaker yuan should help offset some of the decline. So far, encouraged by strong job growth and expectations of good quarterly earnings reports, U.S. markets have been strong and the Australian market has reached a 10-year record high.

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Analysts also pointed out that Chinese export growth slowed to 11.3% year on year in June, from 12.2% in May, illustrating that exporters, faced with the threat of further trade barriers, were becoming more circumspect in sending goods overseas. China also said both its imports and exports with the U.S. rose in the first half of 2018.

Earlier this week Donald Trump proposed a 10% tariff on $200bn of Chinese goods entering the United States, saying that tariffs already in place on steel and aluminium imports and $34bn of goods had failed to force significant reforms by Beijing.

Investors fear a prolonged trade battle with the United States could harm business confidence and investment, disrupting global supply chains and harming growth in China and the rest of the world.

Separate customs data on Friday showed imports of commodities from soybeans to crude oil eased compared with a year ago, but China's steel mills and aluminium smelters sold much more overseas spurred by higher worldwide prices amid growing concerns about slowing demand growth. "Not only will Chinese exporters suffer but American consumers as well", she said.

The spiraling battle between Beijing and Washington shows no signs of cooling down.

The June figures may have received a boost from USA and Chinese traders who rushed to fill orders for soybeans, ball bearings and other goods in both directions before threatened tariff hikes took effect.

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