Workers walk past containers at the Longtan port in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu province in this May 25, 2007 photo. China's trade surplus surged 47.7 percent over a year earlier to reach a record $262.2 billion in 2007, the General Administration of Customs said Friday, January 11, 2008. [Agencies]
China's trade surplus surged 47.7 percent over a year earlier to reach a record $262.2 billion in 2007, the General Administration of Customs said Friday.
That was below the US$300 billion figure forecast by some Chinese economists but still represented strong gains. China had made it clear that it is not intentionally pursuing a large trade surplus
The administration also pointed out the country's soaring trade surplus eased a bit in the fourth quarter last year, with imports catching up and exports slowing down.
The trade surplus growth was 69.4 percent for the first three quarters of this year and up to 75 percent in 2006.
In 2007, export rose 25.7 percent to $1.22 trillion, and import climbed 20.8 percent to $955.8 billion, the administration said.
The export growth was 1.5 percentage points lower than in 2006, while the import growth posted a gain of 0.9 percentage points.
The December trade surplus was $22.69 billion, down 14.2 percent from the previous month.
The total foreign trade hit a new high of $2.17 trillion last year, up 23.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the administration.
The country's trade surplus for 2006 stood at $177.47 billion.
Yuan Hits New High against Dollar
China's currency, the yuan, hit a new high against the US dollar on Friday, according to China Foreign Exchange Trade System.
The yuan, also known as the Renminbi, reached 7.2672 yuan to one US dollar on Friday, up 133 basis points from the 7.2805 yuan to one dollar on the previous trading day.
This was the fourth time the local currency hit a new record high in the 10 days since the beginning of the new year.
The Chinese currency had appreciated against the greenback by about 12 percent since a new currency regime was imposed in July 2005 to discontinue yuan's peg to the US dollar.
It had climbed 6.9 percent against the dollar last year, but some US critics had said it remained severely undervalued. This gave Chinese exporters an unfair advantage and resulted in the massive trade imbalance between the two countries.
Observers said the yuan's rise would help China reduce its massive trade surplus, mop up excess liquidity and curb inflation.
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson recognized last month at the bilateral strategic economic dialogue held in Beijing that "the pace of appreciation has increased over the past year".
China was not against revaluation, but opposed "excessively rapid" appreciation that was inappropriate to its national conditions, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said last month.
Premier Wen Jiabao said China would improve the yuan's exchange rate mechanism in a controllable and gradual manner, let the market play a bigger role in the mechanism and enhance the currency's flexibility.
He said the exchange rate wasn't the only factor leading to the trade surplus. The appreciation had not forced down Chinese exports because of the world's industrial division of labor and the competitiveness of the country's products.