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Monthly trade surplus up 22.6% in January
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China's trade surplus in January jumped 22.6 percent year-on-year to 19.49 billion U.S. dollars, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.

The figure was slightly lower than the 22.69 billion U.S. dollars in December. Since May last year, the trade surplus had been at least 20 billion U.S. dollars per month.

Exports reached 109.66 billion U.S. dollars, up 26.7 percent year-on-year. The growth rate was 6.2 percentage points lower than last January.

Imports grew 27.6 percent to 90.17 billion U.S. dollars. In this case, the growth rate was 0.2 percentage point higher than a year earlier.

Analysts predicted that China would see exports slow due to weakening demand, fallout from the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis and, in some cases, China's decision to curb exports of certain items by cutting export rebates or imposing export taxes.

Customs officials said that imports had posted strong growth and the trade gap had begun to decline as the government's policy adjustments began to pay off.

China had also sought to rein in its trade surplus by restricting processing trade. Processing trade reached 81.85 billion U.S. dollars in January, up 15.8 percent. However, the growth rate was 9.9 percentage points less than a year earlier, according to the administration.

Trade by foreign-funded enterprises was 109.48 billion U.S. dollars in January, up 20.1 percent, accounting for 54.8 percent of the total trade, said the administration.

The trade surplus last year stood at 262.2 billion U.S. dollars, with total trade volume hitting a new high of 2.17 trillion U.S. dollars, up 23.5 percent from a year earlier, said the administration.

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2008)

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