BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s aluminum exports grew more than 25 percent in the first two months of 2018, but steel exports fell by nearly a third, as the world’s top producer of the two metals faces scrutiny amid U.S. plans to impose hefty tariffs later on Thursday.
The rise in aluminum shipments suggested winter production cuts by Beijing to battle air pollution had not been as deep as expected, analysts said, depressing local prices and leaving producers with excess supplies to sell offshore.
In contrast, the fall in steel exports extended a steady decline in recent years as local demand has grown and China reins in its domestic steel capacity to curb stifling smog.
President Donald Trump wants to impose duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum to counter cheap imports, especially from China.
Other data on Thursday showed China’s total exports unexpectedly surged at the fastest pace in three years last month, suggesting its economic growth remains resilient even as trade relations with the United States rapidly deteriorate.
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