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Chinese surplus widens as exports surge

By Paavan Mathema, for CNN
October 13, 2012 -- Updated 0800 GMT (1600 HKT)
China Shipping Line ship is loaded at the main container port in Hamburg, Germany, August 2007.
China Shipping Line ship is loaded at the main container port in Hamburg, Germany, August 2007.
  • China's trade surplus widens in September to $27.67 billion
  • Exports jumped almost 10% year-on-year to $186B
  • Imports also rose in September, up 2.4% after three months of falls
  • Trade with European Union fell, while trade with the U.S. increased

Hong Kong (CNN) -- China's trade surplus widened to $27.67 billion in September from $26.66B the previous month, the Chinese government reported Saturday.

Exports surged almost 10% in September to $186.35B, compared to the same time last year. This increase follows a year-on-year gain of just 2.7% in August.

Imports also rose in September -- up 2.4% -- after three months of consecutive falls. Total foreign trade for September increased by 6.3% to $345.03B.

In the first three quarters this year, China's foreign trade expanded by 6.2 percent to $2.84 trillion, giving the country a trade surplus of $148.31B. Exports rose 7.4 percent while imports gained 4.8 percent.

Emerging markets slow to recover

However, China's trade with its largest trade partner, the European Union, fell by 2.7% over the nine months from January. The positive overall trade figures may be attributed to a staggering 9.1% increase in China's trade with the United States, its second largest trading partner.

Islands dispute hits trade

China's trade with Japan suffered over the nine month period, falling 1.8% to $248.76B. In recent months, tension has been rising between the two countries over a set of contested islands in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan.

The dispute sparked hundreds of protests across China and calls for a boycott of Japanese-made goods. During September, sales of Japanese cars fell between 35% and 50%, according to earnings reports from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi.

However, the short-term impact of the dispute unrest was expected to be limited, according to a report released last month by credit rating and research company Moody's. The report said that the longer-term effect of the dispute was harder to predict, but the anti-Japanese sentiment in China could lead to loss of access for Japanese manufactured goods.

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