China's exports jumped to a record high in July, but the country's slowing demand for imports is raising concerns about the pace of the global economic recovery.

China's customs agency said Tuesday exports jumped 38 percent compared to July of last year (to $145.5 billion).   

Officials said imports grew less than 23 percent (to $116.8 billion) in July, driving China's trade surplus to an 18-month high.

Some economists say it will be more difficult for the global economy to grow if other countries are not able to sell more goods and services to businesses and consumers in China.

China's customs agency said July's increase in imports is the smallest since November 2009, and a decline from the June figures.

Chinese officials have been concerned that the country's economy was expanding too quickly, and the government has been cutting back programs to stimulate the nation's economic growth.

Tuesday's report from China found European demand for Chinese products remained strong.

Exports to Europe totaled $28.7 billion in July, up from the month before.

Overall, the gap between China exports and imports was $28.7 billion for July.

The United States - the world's biggest economy - is scheduled to release data on its trade deficit on Wednesday.

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