Import slump boosts China trade surplus

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Import slump boosts China trade surplus

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China trade surplus jumped in June as imports rose at only half the pace expected.

Annual import growth of 6.3 percent in June fell far short of the 12.7 percent forecast by economists and the 12.7 percent achieved in May.

Import data eclipsed an upside surprise in June export growth to 11.3 percent versus the 9.9 percent expected, leaving a trade surplus of $31.7 billion against May’s $18.7 billion.

The numbers increased anxiety about growth in the world’s second biggest economy and signalled a need for Beijing to do more to bolster growth.

They indicate both a drop-off in domestic demand and the running down of inventories by exporters worried about the weakness of growth for new orders.

Officials pointed to Europe’s debt crisis as a factor in exporters’ concerns.

The European Union is China’s biggest trading partner and key to Beijing’s ability to meet its 10 percent target for trade growth this year.

Softening sales to the EU in the first half of 2012 saw the United States overtake it as China’s top export destination.