Chinese trade surplus hits 18-month high of $28.7bn

CHINA’S trade surplus unexpectedly ballooned in July to an 18-month high of $28.7bn (£18.2bn) in July from $20.02bn in June, handing fresh ammunition to critics who say Beijing is still not moving swiftly enough to allow the yuan to rise.

Exports showed resilience, rising 38.1 per cent from a year earlier to a record high of $145.5bn.

Shipments to the United States and the European Union rose from June levels, defying worries about slowing demand. But imports posted a surprising decline in apparent response to a government drive to rein in property speculation and root out obsolete manufacturing capacity.

Annual import growth slowed to 22.7 per cent from 34.1 per cent in June, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday.