China's Trade Surplus More Than Doubles In August

China's trade surplus more than doubled in August from a year ago, pushed above the US$ 10 billion mark by global demand and local producers eyeing overseas markets as an outlet for excess capacity.

"Not only is external demand for Chinese goods still very strong, domestic production capacity is building up to a level that is exceeding domestic demand," said Chen Xingdong, chief China economist with BNP Paribas in Beijing.

The trade surplus last month was $10.04 billion, a rise of 122% from August 2004, the commerce ministry said. It was the third-largest trade surplus ever recorded, customs officials told AFP. Exports in August rose 32.1% from a year earlier to $67.8 billion while imports were up 23.4% to $57.8 billion, according to the statistics.

In recent months, China's export machine has been helped by booming textile shipments, let loose when a global system of textile quotas was abolished in January. This was reflected in Monday's official data, which showed exports in the first eight months of the year increasing 32% to $475.7 billion. China may be a textile super power but high-technology export figures also released Sept.12 show the country's manufacturing industries are gradually moving up the value-added chain.

Chinese companies shipped $129.5 billion worth of computers, mobile phones and other high-tech items in the first eight months, a rise of 32.9% from the same period in 2004.

As long as exports soar at such rates, it is likely that economic growth in China will continue to rely heavily on foreign trade and mostly state-sponsored investments in fixed assets such as plant and equipment, analysts said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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