June export growth slows to 11.3%

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China's exports rose 11.3 percent year on year to US$180.21 billion in June, slowing from the 15.3-percent spurt in May, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Tuesday.

A file photo of an import and export port in Dongguan, Guangdong Province.

A file photo of an import and export port in Dongguan, Guangdong Province. China's exports rose 11.3 percent year-on-year to US$180.21 billion in June.

Imports increased 6.3 percent to US$148.48 billion, compared with a growth of 12.7 percent a month earlier.

Trade surplus jumped 42.9 percent year on year to reach US$31.73 billion in June, surpassing market expectations.

In the first six months of 2012, total foreign trade reached US$1.84 trillion, an increase of 8 percent year on year, lower than the 10-percent increase targeted by the government for the whole of 2012.

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Combined trade surplus surged by 56.4 percent year on year to US$68.92 billion in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, exports rose 9.2 percent to US$954.38 billion during the January-June period, according to the GAC data.

Customs authorities attributed the trade slowdown to the persistent impact of the global financial crisis, saying China's trade with the European Union (EU) and Japan almost stalled in the first half of this year.

"We are still facing a more complicated and severe situation in foreign trade," GAC spokesman Zheng Yuesheng told a press conference releasing the customs data. "But China's core competitiveness in manufacturing will not see significant changes in the short term."

"If the world economy, particularly the European debt crisis, does not become worse, we will hopefully achieve the 10-percent growth goal in foreign trade this year," Zheng added.

Even though the debt crisis still bites, the EU remained China's largest trading partner in the first half of this year, with bilateral trade reaching US$267.82 billion, up slightly by 0.7 percent from a year ago.

In the first half of this year, China's trade with the United States -- its second-largest trade partner -- reached US$231.12 billion, up 11.9 percent year on year.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held its position as China's third-largest trade partner, with China-ASEAN trade amounting to US$187.82 billion, up 9.7 percent year on year.

China's trade with Japan, which is still recovering from last year's devastating tsunami and massive earthquake, dipped 0.2 percent from a year earlier to US$162 billion in the first six months of 2012.

In a breakdown of imports, China's iron ore imports rose 9.7 percent from a year ago to 370 million metric tons in the January-June period, with crude oil imports increasing 11 percent year on year to 140 million metric tons, and coal imports surging 65.9 percent to 140 million metric tons.

Moreover, exports of machinery and electronics posted an increase of 10.5 percent to US$550.25 billion, accounting for 57.7 percent of total exports in the first half of this year.

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