Xi summit eyed for March could move to April

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China's February dollar-denominated exports fell 20.7 per cent from a year earlier, far worse than analysts' expectations, while imports dropped 5.2 per cent, official data showed on Friday.

However, deducting the Spring Festival factor, China's foreign trade rose 3.9 percent year on year in February, with exports increasing 1.5 percent and imports rising 6.5 percent, respectively, in US dollar-denominated terms.

Both exports and imports should pick up somewhat later this year, said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Group AG in Hong Kong.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $4.12 billion for the month, much smaller than forecasts of $26.38 billion.

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On Friday, however, Trump's ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that no date has been set for a trade summit in Florida since talks are still continuing between U.S. and Chinese negotiators.

So that dropped the exports in the second half of previous year.

Trump made the comments Friday as he left the White House to tour tornado damage in the southern USA state of Alabama.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he is confident the United States can forge a trade deal with China, but added that he thinks his country would do very well with or without an agreement with the major Asian economy.

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Optimism about a rapid resolution of the months-long US-China trade war was undercut by conflicting comments out of Washington and Beijing, sending global stock markets on a downward slide on Friday. Chinese officials are no longer planning for Xi to travel to Florida at the end of the month, the people said.

It was much the same for iron ore, with February imports looking soft at 84.27 million tonnes, but the total for the first two months coming in at 184.74 million tonnes, a gain of 5.4 percent over the same period in 2018.

The Chinese government is targeting economic growth of 6.0 to 6.5 percent in 2019, Premier Li Keqiang said at Tuesday's opening of the annual meeting of parliament, a lower target than set for 2018.

On March 6, the US reported its goods trade deficit with China surged to an all-time high past year, underlining one of the key sticking points.

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The US economy has been running hot at a time when, partly due to the trade conflicts, other major economies have been cooling. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.

"It is historic, it is written down, it was agreed to by the Chinese who were here two weeks ago, but it has to pass through the political filter of President Xi and the politburo", Kudlow said. Like China, Japan and South Korea, its hi-tech manufacturers are also being hurt by a global downturn in demand for electronics from memory chips to smartphones.

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