China's trade surplus widens in June as imports drop

Shipping containers and train wagons are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer (Reuters)

China's trade surplus widened sharply amid escalating trade tensions with the U.S., which is preparing to impose fresh tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods.

China reported a trade surplus of $41.61 billion in June, compared with $24.92 billion in May, the General Administration of Customs said Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a $26 billion surplus.

The expanding trade surplus was largely because of smaller imports.

Imports grew 14.1% in June from a year ago, well below the 26% increase in May and economists' forecast of a 23.5% gain.

China's exports rose 11.3% in June from a year earlier, compared with a 12.6% increase in May, customs data showed. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the value of shipments overseas to grow 11.0%.

In yuan terms, China's exports grew 3.1% in June and imports rose 6.0%. The trade surplus was 261.88 billion yuan last month, official data showed.