China's 2005 trade surplus tripled to a record US$101.9 billion, official data showed Jan. 11, a gap certain to further agitate trade partners. The widening gap saw exports for the year up 28.4% to $762 billion, while imports rose a slower 17.6% to $660.12 billion, the China General Administration of Customs said.
In the month of December alone the trade surplus was $11.01 billion, up from November's $10.5 billion as exports rose 18.2% to $75.41 billion and imports were up 22.2% to $64.4 billion.
China's total foreign trade was up 23.2% to $1.42 trillion for the year.
China's trade surplus was already a huge concern for China's three major trading partners -- the EU, the U.S. and Japan -- before the release of Jan. 11's figures and is bound to cause further trouble. They all claim the yuan remains undervalued, giving Chinese exporters an unfair trade advantage.
"These are unprecedented surplus volumes, reflecting the structural changes of China becoming the factory of the world and the cyclical slowdown in Chinas economy, most obviously in commodities," and Dong Tao, an economist at Credit Suisse First Boston in Hong Kong. "China's trade surplus will maintain at a high level, as we estimate it will be $82 billion this year, which could bring lots of pressure on China from international trading partners with regard to the yuan."
The U.S. was China's second largest trading partner with $211.6 billion, an increase of 24.8%, followed by Japan on $184.4 billion, up 9.9%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006