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China's imports from North Korea plummet in December, lowest for four years

Reuters  |  BEIJING 

By and Ryan Woo

(Reuters) - China's from plunged in December to their lowest level in dollar terms since at least the start of 2014, with curbed by sanctions aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

from slumped 81.6 percent year-on-year to $54.34 million, Chinese said in a briefing in on Friday. That's the smallest monthly value since at least January 2014.

The administration of U.S. welcomed signs that China, North Korea's main economic partner, was "sharply reducing" with its neighbor.

"This action supports the United States-led global effort to apply maximum pressure until the North Korean regime ends its illicit programs, changes its behavior and moves toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," the said.

The began imposing sanctions on in 2006, but tougher measures were invoked in 2017 as tensions flared anew over the country's nuclear and missile programmes.

The penalties that came into force on Sept. 5 last year banned countries from buying coal, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood from

In November, imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea, the second full month of the sanctions.

"In terms of how big of an impact it (falling trade) had on North Korea, there was definitely impact because some of their products could only go to while others could only be imported from China," said Chen Fengying, an economics expert at state-backed Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"You have to understand it was the most tense period for bilateral ties, and foreign relations determine relations."

China, the main source of North Korea's fuel, did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or to its neighbour in November.

China's exports to in December declined 23.4 percent from a year earlier to $260 million, Huang told reporters.

Compared with a month earlier, exports fell 9.7 percent.

In November, stopped exporting to North Korea, after the Security Council that month imposed new caps on with North Korea, including limiting

For 2017, China's from dropped 33 percent to $1.72 billion, the lowest value in at least four years.

However, exports to the country rose 8.3 percent to $3.34 billion. The value was the highest since 2014.

Non-commodities that exports to included electronics, and garments.

Chinese customs will formally release data for with in the second half of the month, along with a breakdown by product.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen, and Ryan Woo, additional reporting by and in Washington; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, and Susan Thomas)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 13 2018. 00:34 IST