Slackening Demand From China Hurt US Industries

WASHINGTON (Tribune Washington Bureau/TNS) -

Between the work stoppages at West Coast ports and the strong dollar, U.S. export businesses have had a tough few months. But for some, the biggest hit has come from China.

With its economy slowing in a global glut of commodities, China is ordering less and driving steep price cuts for many goods — hurting such American industries as scrap-metal dealers in Los Angeles, manufacturers in the Midwest and cotton farmers in the Mississippi Delta.

U.S. exports of merchandise to China, America’s third-biggest overseas market, rose just 1.6 percent last year after a 10 percent increase in 2013. Meanwhile, imports from China grew 5.7 percent last year, resulting in the largest-ever U.S. trade deficit with the Asian nation.

China’s economic momentum is expected to slow further. Chinese leaders Thursday lowered the country’s economic-growth forecast to 7 percent for this year. That’s after the world’s second-largest economy expanded 7.4 percent last year, the lowest rate since 1990.

After decades of near-double-digit growth, Beijing is trying to steer its economy toward a more sustainable path, away from property investments and exports to more personal consumption and services.