China's trade surplus hits $27bn as exports rise

Chinese port
Image caption China's export growth came despite a slowdown in the country's rapid economic expansion

China's trade surplus in October hit its second highest level this year.

Exports rose 22.9% on last year and imports were up 25.3%, despite new data showing China's expansion is easing.

The $27.1bn (£17bn) surplus was up sharply on September's $16.9bn and was just behind the year's high of $28.7bn, reached in July.

The rise may increase criticism in Washington that Beijing is keeping its currency artificially low to boost exports at the expense of competitors.

Trade imbalances and currency manipulation will be key topics at the G20 meeting of leading nations in South Korea on Thursday and Friday.

Some US lawmakers are pressing for tariffs on Chinese imports to the US if Beijing fails to act.

Critics say China's currency controls keep the yuan undervalued by up to 40% against the US dollar, making its exports cheaper.

According to the Chinese data, October exports rose to $135.9bn, while imports were $108.8bn.

It came despite China's economic expansion cooling to 9.6% in the three months to the end of September from 10.3% in the previous quarter.

Chinese authorities are also continuing efforts to control inflation, which is near a two-year high.

In the latest anti-inflationary move, China's central bank has increased the level of funds that the country's lenders must keep in reserve by 0.5% to 18%, an all-time high.

Such a decision by the People's Bank of China reduces the amount of money in the country's economy.

It comes after the annual rate of inflation in China rose to 3.6% in September, a 23-month high.

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