Global financial markets have been quite volatile over the last month. We’ve seen the United States and China take each other head-on in a trade war. After the Section 232 tariffs targeted several countries, President Trump set his sights on China, which runs a massive trade surplus with the United States. The broader markets have pared their 2018 gains amid an escalating US-China trade war. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) is now trading with a year-to-date loss of 0.34%, based on April 12 closing prices.
China’s trade data
Today, China released its trade data for March. In dollar terms, China’s exports fell 2.7% YoY (year-over-year), while its imports rose 14.4%. In February, China’s exports rose 44.5% YoY while its imports rose 6.3%. China’s March trade data was a mixed bag for investors. While the country’s imports were better than expected, exports fell YoY while markets expected them to rise. Plus, China recorded a trade deficit last month—a rarity for the country.
Metal investors closely follow China’s trade data due to the country’s dominant share in global metals markets. While U.S. Steel Corporation (X), Nucor (NUE), and AK Steel (AKS) keep a close eye on Chinese steel exports, Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) is interested in Chinese copper imports.
In this series, we’ll look at China’s metals trade data and see what it means for the broader metals and mining space. Let’s begin by looking at China’s steel exports in the next part of this series.
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