CHINA / National

Trade surplus rises to record $14.5bln
Updated: 2006-07-10 15:28

China's trade surplus widened to a record $14.5 billion in June as exports surged.

The trade surplus widened from $13 billion in May, the Beijing-based Ministry of Commerce said today on its Web site. It was bigger than the $12.8 billion median forecast of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Money flowing into China from rising exports is being channeled into investment projects, threatening to fan inflation and driving raw material prices to records. The swelling surplus is also provoking calls from U.S. lawmakers to punish China for keeping the value of the yuan artificially low.

Today's report "underscores our concern about China's economy and also support our call for policies to narrow the trade surplus," said Qing Wang, an economist at Bank of America Corp., in a note to clients.

The central bank has raised interest rates, ordered banks to set aside more money as reserves, and sold domestic bonds to withdraw cash from the banking system.

The surplus in China, the world's fastest-growing major economy, reached $61.5 billion in the first half, up 55 percent from the same period last year. Exports climbed 23.3 percent last month from year earlier to $81.3 billion, and imports gained 18.9 percent to $66.8 billion.

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