By Tom Daly and Muyu Xu
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's aluminium exports exceeded half a million tonnes for only the second time ever in June while steel exports hit an 11-month high, as strong international prices and a weak yuan meant shipments continued to defy U.S. tariffs.
Its ability to keep exports of both metals buoyant even amid these tariffs is likely to frustrate Washington, which imposed the duties to protect U.S. industries and has called on China to rein in excess capacity.
Separate customs data on Friday showed China's trade surplus with the United States swelled to a record in June as exports accelerated, potentially further inflaming a bitter trade row between the world's top two economies.
China's unwrought aluminium and aluminium product exports were 510,000 tonnes last month, worth 9.41 billion yuan ($1.41 billion), customs said..
That was up 10.9 percent from 460,000 tonnes a year ago and topped a revised 480,000 tonnes in May, previously the second-highest figure ever behind only the 542,700 tonnes exported in December 2014.
"The arbitrage is open, there is metal available. All the factors are in place for that export trade to continue and obviously it has done," he said.
Meanwhile, China's steel product exports for June climbed 1.9 percent year on year to 6.94 million tonnes, their highest since July 2017. They also nudged up from 6.88 million tonnes in May amid higher output in the second quarter and stronger global prices.
On July 10, however, a range of steel and aluminium products were targeted in another list of tariffs that the United States has threatened to slap on $200 billion worth of goods from China, which has vowed to respond.
($1 = 6.6687 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Tom Daly and Muyu Xu; editing by Richard Pullin)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)