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Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Chinese trade surplus hits new high

AP , BEIJING

China's trade surplus jumped to a new all-time monthly high last month, official data released yesterday showed, despite government pledges to restrain export growth and adding to pressure for action on trade barriers and currency.

The report comes amid demands by some US lawmakers for sanctions if Beijing fails to ease currency controls. The EU says it will press China for action.

China's trade surplus for the first 10 months jumped a massive 59 percent to US$212.4 billion, figures released by the General Administration of Customs showed. The annual surplus already has surpassed the full-year record of US$177.5 billion set last year.

Last month's trade gap rose to US$27 billion, up 13.6 percent from the same month last year, according to the customs data. The previous monthly record high was US$26.9 billion in June.

Chinese leaders say they are not actively pursuing huge surpluses and have imposed new taxes to restrain exports of steel, plastic and other goods deemed too dirty or energy-intensive.

Foreign demand for low-cost Chinese goods has stayed strong despite a string of foreign recalls and warnings over faulty or tainted goods.

The surge in import revenues has strained the government's ability to restrain pressure for prices to rise. The central bank drains billions of dollars a month from the economy through bond sales, and has piled up the world's biggest foreign reserves at US$1.3 trillion.

China's trade surplus with the US rose 12 percent to US$15.7 billion on total two-way trade of US$26.7 billion, according to the customs agency.

The surplus with Europe, China's biggest trading partner, rose nearly 50 percent to US$13.9 billion on total trade of US$31.4 billion, the agency reported.

China's imports last month climbed 25.5 percent from the same month a year earlier to US$80.7 billion, the agency said. Exports grew by 22.3 percent to US$107.7 billion.

The US reported a $232.5 billion trade deficit with China last year, its biggest ever with any country. The gap this year is on track to surpass that.

For the first 10 months of the year, China's total exports grew 26.5 percent to US$985.84 billion, while total imports rose 19.8 percent to US$773.48 billion.

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