China’s foreign trade rose 14.1 percent year on year to 343.58 billion U.S. dollars in May, rebounding from 2.7-percent growth registered in April, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Sunday.
The figure replaced the monthly trade record set in November 2011, when foreign trade amounted to 334.11 billion U.S. dollars, the GAC said.
Both imports and exports reached record highs in May, with exports climbing 15.3 percent from a year earlier to 181.14 billion U.S. dollars, and imports rising 12.7 percent to 162.44 billion U.S. dollars.
In May, the trade surplus hit 18.7 billion U.S. dollars, slightly higher than the 18.42 billion U.S. dollars seen in April.
For the first five months of the year, foreign trade rose 7.7 percent year on year to 1.51 trillion U.S. dollars, with exports and imports up 8.7 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, to 774.4 billion U.S. dollars and 736.49 billion U.S. dollars.
China saw a trade surplus of 37.91 billion U.S. dollars during the January-May period, the GAC said.
The government has targeted an annual rise of around 10 percent in foreign trade this year in the wake of a lackluster external market. Foreign trade grew 22.5 percent year on year last year.
The European Union remained China’s largest trading partner in the first five months despite the lingering debt crisis. Bilateral trade growth rebounded slightly, up 1.3 percent to 220.82 billion U.S. dollars, compared to the 0.3 percent logged in the first four months.
During the period, China’s trade with the United States — its second-largest trade partner — reached 190 billion U.S. dollars, up 12 percent year on year, faster than the 9.2-percent growth registered in the first four months.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held its position as China’s third-largest trade partner, with China-ASEAN trade amounting to 153.74 billion U.S. dollars, up 9.2 percent year on year.
Bilateral trade between China and Japan, which is still recovering from last year’s devastating tsunami and massive earthquake, increased 0.4 percent from a year earlier to 134.71 billion U.S. dollars.
China saw robust trade with Russia, which joined the World Trade Organization this year, and Brazil, a major exporter of iron ore and other raw materials. Trade with Russia and Brazil surged 24.4 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively, to 36.3 billion U.S. dollars and 33.23 billion U.S. dollars.
In a breakdown of imports, China’s iron ore imports rose 9 percent from a year ago to 310 million tonnes in the first five months, while the soybean import volume expanded 20.7 percent to 23.43 million tonnes.
Moreover, exports of machinery and electronics showed the greatest rise, up 9.9 percent to 447.88 billion U.S. dollars, or 57.8 percent of total exports in the first five months.