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China overtakes Canada as top US trade partner

China overtakes Canada as top US trade partner

    China is poised to become the biggest US trading partner this year, eclipsing Canada for the first time as the slump in oil prices reduces the value of energy exports for America's neighbor to the north.
    Trade in goods with China reached $441.6 billion this year through September, exceeding the $438.1 billion balance with Canada for the first time in US Commerce Department data going back to 1985.
    "It's completely an oil story," said Jacob Oubina, senior US economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York. "In nominal terms, yes, the trade with China overtakes Canada, but in real terms, it's very different. It's not economic activity or output. It's a price story all the way."
    In September, the US imported 101.3 million barrels of crude oil from Canada, the most this year and the second-highest level in records going back to 2010, according to data from the Census Bureau. However, the $3.9 billion customs value of those imports was the second-lowest.
    Meanwhile, as other emerging markets struggle to accelerate, China is increasingly dependent on US consumers buying its goods. Total trade this year with China is up 3.7 percent from the same nine months in 2014.