U.S. Markets

China January trade surplus with U.S. narrows to $27.3 billion

Shipping containers are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $27.3 billion in January, from $29.87 billion in December, customs data showed on Thursday.

China’s exports to the United States fell 2.4 percent in January from a year earlier, while imports from the United States plunged 41.2 percent.

China’s large trade surplus with the United States has long been a sore point with Washington, and is at the centre of a bitter dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.

The two countries have hit each other with tit-for-tariffs on goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

A new round of Sino-U.S. trade talks began in Beijing on Monday as the two sides’ renewed efforts to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill