Trade surplus in first nine months exceeds 2005 annual figure

Updated: 2006-10-12 20:33

China's trade surplus in the first nine months of this year hit 109.85 billion U.S. dollars, higher than the total of 101.88 billion U.S. dollars for the whole year in 2005.

Statistics released on Thursday by the General Administration of Customs showed that the monthly trade surplus slipped slightly to 15.3 billion U.S. dollars in September from the monthly record of 18.8 billion U.S. dollars in August.

Statistics show exports in September rose 30.6 percent over the same month of last year to 91.64 billion dollars, and imports increased 22 percent to 76.34 billion dollars.

The aggregated trade volume reached 1.27 trillion dollars in the first three quarters of the year. Exports rose 26.5 percent to 691.2 billion dollars, and imports increased 21.7 percent to 581.4 billion dollars.

Statistics also show that the European Union, the United States, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remained the four largest trade partners of China.

The large growth in trade surplus has strained relations between China and its major trading partners and exerted greater pressure on the country to appreciate its currency value.

"It is unrealistic to reverse the trend in the short term so China's trade surplus against the United States continues to mount up," said Mei Xinyu, an expert with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.

Mei denied that the size of the trade surplus meant that China's trade policies were having limited effects.

The first Ministry of Commerce five-year plan for commerce released on Wednesday said that China planned to reduce the trade surplus by increasing imports. The trade volume is set to reach 2.3 trillion dollars by 2010 with an annual growth of about 10 percent.

The United States is also making efforts to boost its exports and trim its huge trade deficit. A trade mission including 25 U.S. companies led by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez will travel to China next month in search of sales opportunities and possible partnerships with Chinese companies.

Analysts say the fundamental reasons of the trade imbalance lie in China's high savings rates and the hegemonic position of the dollar in the international currency system.

Economists have forecasted that China's 2006 trade surplus will exceed 150 billion dollars.