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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 09:08 GMT
China's trade surplus jumps 67%
A worker stands in front of containers at China's new Yangshan deep water port
China's exports are currently booming
China's trade surplus jumped 67% in January, a development that is likely to increase pressure on Beijing to allow its currency to float freely.

Last month China exported $15.9bn (£8.2bn) more goods and services than it imported, compared with $9.5bn for the same month a year earlier.

Although the rise was inflated by seasonal factors, the West has long said the yuan is undervalued.

While Beijing denies this, a low yuan makes Chinese exports cheaper.

Growing pressure

On Friday, the G7 finance minister from the world's leading industrial countries called on China to increase its currency flexibility.

At present China only allows the yuan to trade in a very narrow field against the dollar, but it has long pledged to allow the yuan to trade more freely as and when this is possible.

China says it needs to be cautious about this to prevent unsettling its economy.

Its exports rose 33% in January compared to the same month a year earlier, while its imports grew 27.5%, both beating market expectations.

The figures for January 2007 were inflated by the late running this year of the Chinese New Year.

This is not taking place this year until later this month, which meant more January trading days.

China's trade surplus with the European Union reached $26.4bn in January, while that with the US totalled $23.41bn.

Its overall trade suplus for 2006 hit a new record of $177.47bn, up 74% on 2005.


SEE ALSO
G7 ministers up pressure on China
11 Feb 07 |  Business
China economy records huge growth
25 Jan 07 |  Business
No deal for US-China trade gap
15 Dec 06 |  Business
Chinese currency reaches new high
04 Dec 06 |  Business
G7 calls for China yuan rethink
16 Sep 06 |  Business

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