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China’s Exports, Imports Grow, as Does Trade Surplus With US

FILE - A container port in Shanghai, Aug. 11, 2009. China's trade surplus with the United States rose in June, July, August and September.

China’s September exports rose a solid 14.5 percent from a year earlier, well above expectations despite wider application of U.S. tariffs and signs of shrinking export orders for Chinese companies.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast shipments from the world’s largest exporter would rise 8.9 percent in September from a year earlier, slowing from 9.8 percent in August.

Imports grew 14.3 percent, slightly missing forecasts, customs data showed Friday. Analysts had expected imports to rise 15.0 percent, compared with August’s 19.9 percent.

US trade surplus

China posted a larger trade surplus of $31.69 billion for the month. Analysts had expected the surplus would shrink to $19.4 billion from $27.89 billion in August.

China’s trade surplus with the United States surged to a record high of $34.13 billion in September, compared with $31.05 billion in August, Chinese customs data showed Friday. The September surplus with the U.S. was larger than China’s overall trade surplus for the month.

For January-September, China’s trade surplus with the United States was $225.79 billion, compared with about $196.01 billion in the same period last year.

Escalating trade dispute

The world’s largest trading nation got off to a strong start this year, but its economic outlook is being clouded by the escalating U.S. trade dispute and cooling domestic demand.

The United States and China imposed new tit-for-tat tariffs against each other’s goods in late September, the latest escalation in a heated trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

China’s export data has been surprisingly resilient to tariffs, possibly as companies ramped up shipments before stiffer U.S. duties go into effect, but factory surveys have shown export orders have been shrinking for several months.