China's trade with North Korea fell sharply in September as sanctions finally began to bite, data released by the Chinese government on Friday (Oct 13) showed.
North Korea's deficit with China more than tripled in the first nine months of the year from the same period in 2016, to US$1.07 billion, he said, without giving further explanation.
The world's second biggest economy recorded a trade surplus of CNY193 billion (USD29.3 billion), down from CNY 286.5 billion in August.
On Friday, China's General Administration of Customs announced that China's imports from North Korea fell 37.9 per cent in September, the seventh successive monthly decline. The rise beat the poll's forecast for a 15% gain.
With China's support, the United Nations has agreed on two rounds of sanctions since the beginning of August including bans on North Korean exports of iron, coal, lead, seafood, textiles, and oil import restrictions.
In addition to pointing to still robust demand, some of the surge in September imports may be due to companies "front loading" supplies ahead of a week-long national holiday in early October, analysts said. Imports rose 18.7 percent to $169.8 billion, an improvement from the previous month's 13.3 percent.
The trade surplus narrowed in September to $28.47 billion from almost $42 billion the previous month, falling short of expectations for a $37.3 billion surplus.
Imports for the first three quarters were 3.44 million tonnes, down 9.4 percent on the same period a year ago, customs said.
Trump in August authorized an inquiry into China's alleged theft of intellectual property in the first direct trade measure by his administration against Beijing, but the move is not expected to prompt any near-term change.
With the European Union, China's exports rose 10.4 percent and imports 30.9 percent.
Authorities are in the midst of a campaign to reduce the risks from a rapid build-up in debt produced by years of credit-fuelled stimulus, and the continued strength of imports and exports could give policymakers confidence to stick with their deleveraging push into next year.