China's trade surplus in US dollar terms widened from $28.61 billion in September to $38.2 billion in October, falling just short of the consensus forecast of $38.9 billion. Year-on-year growth in exports slowed from 8.1 percent in September to 6.9 percent in October, just below the consensus forecast of 7.1 percent, while year-on-year growth in imports moderated from 18.6 percent to 17.2 percent, above the consensus forecast of 16.1 percent.
Weaker headline exports growth in October was mainly driven by exports to the United States, which grew by 8.1 percent on the year after an increase of 13.8 percent in September. In contrast, exports to Japan strengthened, growing by 5.6 percent on the year after zero growth in September, while year-on-year growth in Chinese exports to the European Union picked up from 10.5 percent to 11.2 percent.
In seasonally adjusted terms, Chinese exports advanced 1.9 percent on the month in October after an increase of 4.4 percent in September. Seasonally adjusted imports, meanwhile, increased 11.2 percent on the month, down from a gain of 11.9 percent in September.
In year-to-date terms, China's trade surplus amounted to $334.77 billion for the first ten months of 2017, nearly 25 percent below the $441.61 billion surplus recorded in the same period for 2016. Exports have risen 7.4 percent on the year-to-date, while imports have advanced 17.2 percent
Ahead of President Trump's visit to Beijing this week, today's data shows that China retains a large trade surplus with the United States. The surplus for the year-to-date amounts to $224.5 billion, up around 7.2 percent compared with the same period last year.
In domestic currency terms, China's trade surplus widened from CNY193.9 billion in September to CNY254.57 billion in October. Exports grew 6.1 percent on the year in yuan terms in October, down from 9.0 percent in September, while year-on-year growth in imports in yuan terms slowed from 19.4 percent to 15.9 percent.