China's June trade surplus up 16.4% to $39.2 billion

BEIJING (AFP) - China's monthly trade surplus jumped 16.4 per cent in June to US$31.6 billion (S$39.2 billion), official data showed Thursday, as exports and imports both rose in the latest sign of strength in the world's second-largest economy.

Exports increased 7.2 per cent to US$186.8 billion year-on-year, the General Administration of Customs announced, while imports gained 5.5 per cent toUS $155.2 billion.

But the trade surplus fell short of the median forecast of US$36.9 billion in a survey of 21 economists by The Wall Street Journal.

Exports, which accelerated slightly from May's gain of 7.0 per cent, fell well short of the median prediction of a 10.0 per cent rise.

Imports, which fell 1.6 per cent in May, rebounded to surpass the median forecast of a 5.4 per cent increase.

China's trade statistics this year have been erratic, with Beijing reporting an unexpected trade deficit of almost US$23 billion in February, which authorities blamed on the Lunar New Year holiday season. That was China's first monthly deficit in 11 months.

And in March, China's trade volumes fell dramatically in a development that analysts blamed on the continued impact of fake over-reporting of exports seen in early 2013.

For the first six months of this year, China's trade surplus declined 4.4 per cent to US$102.86 billion, as exports rose 0.9 per cent to US$1.06 trillion and imports gained 1.5 per cent to US$960 billion, Customs said.