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Containers are stacked at a port on March 1, 2016 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province of China
A Reuters poll of economists expected December exports in dollar terms to fall 3.5 percent, compared with a 0.1 percent increase in the previous month. Dollar-denominated imports were seen rising 2.4 percent, from November’s 6.7 percent growth. That would result in a dollar trade surplus of $46.50 billion in December, versus November’s $44.61 billion, according to the poll.
Friday’s trade figures came against the backdrop of renewed gyrations in the Chinese yuan this year, which have revived concerns over capital outflows.
In the wake of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s win, the yuan fell to nearly eight year lows against the dollar, touching its weakest level since January 2009, amid renewed strength in the dollar. A weaker currency makes Chinese products more attractive in overseas markets, and the recent plunge helped explain November’s strong export performance.
But the past week has been a turbulent one for the Chinese currency, which first weakened, then unexpectedly rose before retracing gains.
Friday’s report, as well as Chinese full-year gross domestic product due on Jan.20, will be the last indicators before Trump’s administration takes over, a move that has the potential to alter the global growth environment, Leland Miller, president of China Beige Book International, told CNBC’s Squawk Box.