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China's September trade surplus narrows by 12.4 pct

(Xinhua)

10:42, October 13, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- China's trade surplus in September fell 12.4 percent year-on-year to reach 14.51 billion U.S. dollars due to sluggish global demand and rising costs in domestic markets, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced Thursday.

September exports rose 17.1 percent year-on-year to reach 169.67 billion U.S. dollars. Imports surged 20.9 percent to 155.16 billion U.S. dollars, the GAC said on its website.

From January to September, exports and imports amounted to 2.68 trillion U.S. dollars, representing a 24.6-percent year-on-year increase. The amount has already exceeded that of the full year of 2008, according to the GAC.

The first nine months of this year saw the trade surplus shrink by 10.6 percent to 107.1 billion U.S. dollars.

China's foreign trade structure continued to improve in the first three quarters, with general trade expanding and processing trade dwindling, said Lu Peijun, the GAC's deputy head.

In the first nine months, general trade accounted for 52.9 percent of the country's total trade, with an increase of 31.7 percent to 1.42 trillion U.S. dollars. Processing trade took up 35.9 percent of the total, growing 14.8 percent to 961.6 billion U.S. dollars.

The general trade growth rate was 7.1 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year, while processing trade was 3.1 percentage points lower, according to the GAC.

China's dependence on traditional markets, including the European Union (EU), the United States and Japan, has been somewhat alleviated, as trade with emerging countries has grown quickly, said Lu.

In the first nine months, exports to the EU, the U.S. and Japan accounted for 43.7 percent of the country's total, two percentage points lower compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) surpassed Japan to become China's third-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade totaling 267 billion U.S. dollars, up 26.4 percent.

GAC data showed that export prices of labor-intensive products rose significantly and exports of mechanical and electronic products slowed down due to diminishing demand from the European Union and the United States.

Imports rose strongly, with crude imports up four percent to 190 million metric tons and iron ore imports up 11.1 percent to 510 million metric tons in the first three quarters.

This shows that the country's policies to boost imports have taken effect, said Lu, adding that China's foreign trade is becoming more balanced with a narrowing surplus

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