Imports up, exports down:

China’s December industrial profits fall for 2nd straight month

(Reuters) Profits notched up by China’s industrial firms declined 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 680.8 billion yuan ($100.9 billion) in December. For the full-year of 2018, industrial profits increased 10.3 percent on an annual basis to 6.64 trillion yuan, versus the 11.8 percent gain in the January-November period, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website. Chinese industrial firms’ liabilities rose 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 64.1 trillion yuan by end-2018, compared with a 5.8 percent rise as of end-November.

Slowdown bites China’s auto industry as inventories pile up

(Nikkei) Auto sales including passenger and commercial vehicles fell 2.8% to 28 million units last year as Beijing phased out tax cuts on smaller cars and the Sino-American trade war helped dampen economic growth. Bernstein, which reckons first-time auto insurance give the most accurate view of actual retail sales, expects industry sales to decline 4% this year following what it calculated as a 7.1% contraction in 2018. The industry started 2019 with channel inventory at record high levels, and vehicle prices and margins are likely to remain under pressure amid declining volumes, it added.