BEIJING --China's trade surplus fell to US$99.03 billion in the first half of this year, down 11.8 percent from the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs said on Thursday.
Analysts said the fall was partly a result of China's policies to tame surplus, but was also in part because of the rising prices of energy and resources.
The global slowdown in the wake of the economic crisis sparked by the US subprime mortgage disaster has also played a negative part.
Exports increased 21.9 percent year-on-year to US$666.6 billion, while imports rose 30.6 percent to US$567.57 billion.
The total trade volume in the first six months stood at US$1,234.17 billion, a year-on-year rise of 25.7 percent.
"The trade surplus decline in the first half was broadly in line with market expectation", said Li Jian, an expert with the Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.
Exports in June alone rose 17.6 percent from June last year to US$121.53 billion, while imports shot up 31 percent to US$100.18 billion.
The June export growth further slowed from May by 10.5 percentage points, and the import growth was 9 percentage points lower.
The export slowdown led the June trade surplus to US$21.35 billion, down 20.66 percent from the same month last year.
Li said middle and small-sized enterprises are faced with extremely difficult situations. "The accelerated appreciation of the yuan, fund shortage, continued price rises of raw materials, and labor cost increases have forced more and more enterprises into financial loss or bankruptcy."
Trade with the European Union (EU), China's largest trade partner, rose 27.7 percent to US$202.14 billion in the first six months.
The United States secured its place as the second largest trade partner, with a total trade of US$158.34 billion, up 12.6 percent. Trade with Japan came to US$129.66 billion.
The surplus with the US in the first half hit US$75.3 billion, a year-on-year rise of 1.84 percent.
Trade with India, the eighth largest trade partner, saw the fastest growth among China's top 10 trade partners, up 69 percent to reach US$29 billion.