China’s trade surplus jumps 15 percent

September 10th, 2008 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Sep 10 (Xinhua) China’s trade surplus rose for the second month in August, up 14.9 percent to $28.69 billion from a year earlier. Exports last month gained 21.1 percent to $134.87 billion, while imports rose 23.1 percent to $106.18 billion, the General Administration of Customs said Wednesday.

The trade gap narrowed 6.2 percent annually to $151.99 billion in the first eight months of the year, it said.

Exports increased 22.4 percent to $937.69 billion during the period between January and August this year and imports were up 30 percent to $785.69 billion.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics Wednesday said the consumer price index (CPI), a measure of inflation, was up 4.9 percent in August.

The figure, compared with 6.3 percent in July, 7.1 percent in June and 7.7 percent in May, was lower than most forecasts.

“The continuous decline of the CPI is a positive sign as it shows that the government’s measures to ease inflationary pressures were effective,” said Yao Jingyuan, chief economist with the bureau, who attributed the decline to falling food prices.

Food prices, which account for more than a third of the CPI calculation, rose 10.3 percent in August, 4.1 percentage points lower than July.

The lower-than-expected inflationary trend also leaves larger room for the government to liberalize prices of processed oil and electricity, though experts suggested that the government should wait till the situation stabilizes before it carries out price reform of resource products. Energy prices, among a dozen of basic products, are under government control.

The government has said it had been waiting for an opportune time to introduce resources pricing mechanism reform so that market will have a bigger role in deciding prices and balancing supplies and demand.

China’s oil refinery and most coal-fired power-generating plants are operating at losses due to government controls on processed oil and electricity while the prices of crude oil and coal are liberalized.

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