China's imports grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in November, fueled by its strong thirst for commodities from coal to iron ore, while exports also rose unexpectedly. But as David Pollard reports, the 2017 outlook has been clouded by Donald Trump's protectionist rhetoric.
It's another sign that things are picking up for China. November imports expanding nearly seven percent - a drop expected. Imports up 0.1 per cent - where a big slide was predicted. But if that's good news for Beijing, then here could the bad ... Donald's Trump's protectionist rhetoric potentially souring trade relations. And threatening Beijing's policy of propping up the value of its currency. Its own reserves falling to their lowest level in November - as authorities struggle to stem capital outflows - and shore up a weakening yuan. SOUNDBITE (English) SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, JANE FOLEY, SAYING: "The Chinese could easily retaliate and stop intervening so much to support its currency and let it fall. And if that is the case, I think those shock waves could be felt throughout the world and certainly for those commodities exporters that export into China." Japan's problems aren't so much a new US president as a rapidly ageing population. Official growth figures revised down to a 1.3 per cent annualised rate from 2.2 previously. The three arrows of Abenomics still, it seems, missing their target. SOUNDBITE (English) SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, JANE FOLEY, SAYING: "A huge amount of fiscal stimuluses ... haven't managed to create the sort of growth rates or inflation rates that we'd rather see in Japan, so it is a constant issue ... And faced with that demographic issue, I don't think it's one that's going to disappear quickly." It's an issue Japan is unlikely to solve in 2017. But Trump may already be trying to heal any rift with China. Despite the rhetoric, choosing the governor of Iowa as the next US ambassador there. Terry Branstad described as a long-time friend of Beijing - with strong personal links to China and its leaders.