Chinese officials say the country's trade surplus fell sharply in August, after an unexpected jump in imports.

China's customs agency said Saturday that exports rose 24.5 percent year-on-year in August to $173 billion.

However, imports jumped 30.2 percent to $155.5 billion in August, breaking the previous monthly record of $152.2 billion set in March.

As a result, the report said, China's trade surplus narrowed to $17.8 billion from July's 30-month high of $31.5 billion.

China's trade surplus is a major point of contention for its key trade partners, the United States and Europe, who seek better market access to the world's second-largest economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.