Chinese exports to the US grew strongly last month while imports shrank, defying predictions that American tariffs would hit demand for Chinese goods and force Beijing to the negotiating table. The data could strengthen Beijing’s resolve to resist concessions that would enable an agreement with the US when presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping meet at the G20 summit in Argentina late this month.

Chinese goods exports to all countries grew 15.6 per cent in October in US dollar terms from a year earlier, while imports rose 21.4 per cent, according to Chinese customs data. Both figures exceeded expectations and marked an acceleration from the January-to-September period. Speaking at an international import fair in Shanghai on Monday,

Mr Xi struck a combative tone, lambasting a “law of the jungle” approach to trade — a clear reference to Mr Trump’s tariffs.  The latest figures also highlight how a weaker renminbi and a red hot US economy, fuelled by Mr Trump’s tax cuts, are overwhelming the impact of tariffs. Chinese exports to the US — which account for about a fifth of total Chinese exports — rose 13.2 per cent in October from a year earlier.