September 10, 2008

August China Trade Surplus Soars

China's August trade surplus soared 14.9 percent from August 2007 to $28.69 billion as import growth fell sharply from July, the government said Wednesday.

The August increase came on the heels of July's trade surplus of $25.28 billion, the General Administration of Customs reported Wednesday.

The surplus in August of last year was $24.97 billion, Xinhua reported.

Current August exports jumped 21.1 percent from year-ago month to $134.87 billion, compared with July's 26.9 percent.

August imports rose 23.1 to $106.18 billion, down sharply form July's increase of 33.7 percent.

"Exports growth decelerated, but imports posted much bigger slow-down as commodities prices and shipping rates slumped," a commerce ministry official told the state-run Chinese news agency. "This is the main reason why the surplus jumped."

The yuan was virtually steady against the U.S. dollar after appreciating sharply in previous months, which further helped boost the surplus.

"This can help exports while giving no further incentives to imports," the official said.

China's trade surplus in the first eight months of this year totaled $151.99 billion, down 6.2 from the same period of last year, the announcement said.

Eight-month exports rose 22.4 percent to $937.69 billion, while imports rose 30 percent to $785.69 billion.