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China's trade surplus slows to US$16.7b in April
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China's trade surplus continued to slow in April, down about 1 percent from a year earlier to US$16.7 billion, the General Administration of Customs said on its Website today.

Exports climbed to US$118.71 billion last month, a year on year rise of 21.8 percent, the administration said. The figure was much lower than the rise of 30.6 percent in March.

Imports in April surged 26.3 percent to US$102.03 billion from a year ago after expanding 24.6 percent in March, 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.

In the first four months, exports grew 21.5 percent from a year earlier and imports expanded 27.9 percent, the administration said.

The gap with the European Union, China's biggest trading partner, increased 34.8 percent to US$12 billion, it added.

The trade gap with the United States, China's second-biggest trading partner, rose 4 percent to US$13 billion from a year ago, the administration said.

China's trade surplus hit a monthly high of US$27 billion in October. Last year's trade surplus of US$262.2 billion was a record high, adding pressure on monetary policy authorities as it tries to absorb excess liquidity 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 later half of 2007 with imports rising substantially to better balance the surplus.

(Shanghai Daily May 12, 2008)

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