China's trade surplus fell 63 percent to US$8.56 billion in February from a year ago, the General Administration of Customs said on its Website today.
Exports climbed to US$87.37 billion last month, a year on year climb of 6.5 percent, the administration said.
Imports in February surged 35.1 percent to US$78.81 billion from a year ago, reflecting strong demand in an economy that is expected to grow at least nine percent this year after an 11.4 percent expansion in 2007.
The trade gap with the United States, China's second biggest trading partner, shrank 23 percent to US$9.4 billion from a year ago, the administration said.
The gap with the European Union, the biggest trading partner, narrowed 15 percent to US$10 billion, it added.
China's trade surplus hit a monthly high of US$27 billion in October last year and the figure for 2007 accumulated to a record US$262.2 billion, adding pressure to the government as it tries to absorb excess liquidity on the market and appreciate the yuan, according to previous reports.
China has levied taxes and cut rebates on exports while charging less import taxes to adjust the nation's trade structure. The growth rate of overall trade began to slow in the latter half of 2007 with imports rising substantially to better balance the surplus.
China will shift its focus to managing the yuan's exchange rate against currencies of its biggest trading partners and not just the dollar, allowing for a broader appreciation, Li Yang, former central bank adviser and head of financial research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said last month.