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China's exports at record high

China's exports at record high
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China’s exports hit a record high in July with shipments to Europe and the United States proving surprisingly buoyant.

Total exports were up 20.4 percent from a year ago, the strongest gain since April.

But analysts warned it was too soon to know if those exports will hold up in coming months as debt worries, sluggish consumer spending and wildly volatile financial markets plague China’s two biggest customers.

“Both imports and exports are likely to grow at a slower pace in coming months,” said Li Xunlei, an economist at Guotai Junan Securities in Shanghai. “The global financial market turbulence may lead to a contraction in external demand.”

Imports were roughly in line with expectations, rising 22.9 percent in July from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said.

Annual growth of exports to Europe nearly doubled to 22.3 percent, lifting the value of sales to $35.1 billion (24.5 billion euros). Export growth to Japan also picked up sharply.

Other data this week showed that China’s inflation hit three-year highs of 6.5 percent in July, and some officials have said that it has likely peaked.

But underlining the fine balance that Beijing has to tread between managing growth and inflation, July’s brisk exports caused China’s trade surplus to balloon to $31.5 billion (22 billion euros), its widest since January 2009.