China: Trade surplus widens to seven-month high in June on the back of slower imports
July 10, 2011
In June, the trade surplus reached a seven-month high, as imports grew at their weakest pace since November 2009. However, exports also moderated. In June, exports rose 17.9% over the same month last year, which was below the 19.4% expansion tallied in May and fell short of market expectations of a 18.6% increase. Imports advanced 19.3%, undershooting both the previous month's 28.3% growth and market expectations of a 25.3% expansion. The sharp slowdown in imports was mainly due to moderating purchases of certain commodities, such as crude oil and iron ore, which drove the trade surplus to USD 22.3 billion in June, up from the USD 13.1 billion tallied in May and above the USD 14.2 billion expected by the market. Imports from Japan continued to be muted in the wake of the 11 March Tohoku earthquake, rising a mild 6.9% over the same month last year (May: +7.8% year-on-year). Moreover, purchases from the United States and the European Union also moderated. Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced that the foreign-exchange reserves reached a new record high of USD 3.2 trillion in the second quarter of 2011, which represents a net increase of USD 152.8 billion over the previous quarter.