China trade surplus hits US$80.37b in 10 months
China's soaring exports pushed the trade surplus to a record 80.37 billion dollars in the first 10 months of the year.
Exports from the January to October period gained 31.1 percent to 614.49 billion dollars compared with the same period last year, while imports rose 16.7 percent to 534.12 billion dollars, the China Customs Administration said Thursday.
October exports surged 29.7 percent year-on-year to 68.09 billion dollars in October, while imports to China jumped 23.4 percent to 56.08 billion dollars, on stronger demand at home.
China's exports for the first nine months hit 68.3 billion dollars.
Economists believe that, despite strengthening domestic demand, at the current pace China's trade surplus will be around 100 billion dollars.
The country recorded a trade surplus of 32 billion dollars last year, which opened it to a barrage of US criticism that it keeps its currency, the yuan, undervalued to give it an unfair trade advantage.
The data, which comes ahead of a visit by US President George Bush, who has promised to push China more on currency reform, follows a landmark deal Tuesday between Beijing and Washington to cap exports of Chinese textiles worth up to seven billion dollars.
Standard Chartered economist Tai Hui said China's trade surplus would renew political pressures on the Chinese to revalue the yuan, especially if US trade figures due out late on Thursday show a widening gap.
According to Washington's calculation, China's 2004 trade surplus with the United States was a record 162 billion dollars and, at 126 billion dollars in August, Beijing's surplus is likely well on track for a new record.
"I think the trade numbers we've seen today don't really help to ease that pressure," said Hui.
Hui expects both imports and exports to moderate in the next 12 to 18 months, although he puts the surplus at around 90 billion dollars.
"Overall, the theme is that China remains a very strong exporter from all aspects," he said.