China's trade surplus widened in October from the previous month, a timely reminder of the country's trading strength on the day U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive in Beijing.
The trade surplus climbed to $38.2 billion in October from $28.5 billion in September, falling short of a median forecast for a $40 billion surplus, according to data released Wednesday by the General Administration of Customs.
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The country's trade surplus with the U.S. narrowed slightly to $26.62 billion from $28.08 billion in September. The fifth straight monthly surplus of more than $25 billion puts China on track to log a bigger surplus with the U.S. than last year.
Overall exports rose 6.1% in October from a year earlier, compared with the 8.1% increase in September. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the value of shipments overseas to grow 7%.
A rebound in China's exports this year has helped support stronger-than-expected growth in the Chinese economy.
Imports expanded 17.2% in October from a year earlier, compared with an 18.7% gain in September. That compared with the poll's forecast for a 16.3% gain. Imports into China, the world's largest consumer of commodities, have been growing at a double-digit pace since January.
Mr. Trump, who will visit Beijing on Wednesday, has long criticized China for unfair trade practices. He is seeking a narrower trade deficit with China and other trading partners, including Japan.
The U.S. trade deficit with China hit $347 billion in 2016, according to U.S. figures, by far the largest shortfall among the U.S.'s trading partners.
--Liyan Qi and Grace Zhu
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 07, 2017 23:40 ET (04:40 GMT)