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China's trade surplus grows to $12B in Oct.
Updated: 2005-11-10 21:40

China's trade surplus surged to $12 billion in October, the highest monthly total this year, as exports continued to outpace imports, the government reported Thursday.

For the first 10 months of the year, China's global trade gap totaled $80.4 billion, already more than twice the $32 billion trade surplus it recorded for all of 2004. In September, the trade gap was $7.6 billion.

Exports last month rose 29.7 percent from a year earlier to $68.1 billion, while imports climbed 23.4 percent on-year to $56.1 billion, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement.

The higher-than-expected export figures were expected to bring more pressure from the United States on Beijing. China's trade gap with the U.S. hit $162 billion last year — the largest imbalance ever recorded with a single country — and is forecast to approach $200 billion this year.

President Bush is expected to raise that issue, and U.S. complaints over China's currency policies, during a visit to Beijing later this month.

Washington contends that the Chinese currency, the yuan, is undervalued due to foreign exchange restrictions imposed by Beijing. U.S. officials argue that a 2.1 percent revaluation in July, to 8.1 yuan to the dollar, was not a significant enough adjustment.

China is gradually relaxing its currency controls, but officials have said they will allow the yuan's value to gradually adjust through market trends, rather than one-off revaluations.

Although China's trade worldwide varies, with some countries running consistent surpluses, export growth recently has outpaced imports.

China's exports from January to October jumped 31 percent from the same period a year earlier, to $614.5 billion, while imports grew about 17 percent, to $534 billion, the Customs Administration reported.

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