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China's October foreign trade drops 8.3 pct month-on-month; surplus continues to fall

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BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's imports and exports in October both dropped from September, as uncertainties in the United States and Europe have slashed external demand, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Thursday.

China's foreign trade in October fell 8.3 percent from September to 297.95 billion U.S. dollars, but still rose 21.6 percent year-on-year, according to GAC data.

October exports weakened 7.2 percent month-on-month to 157.49 billion U.S. dollars, while imports dropped 9.5 percent month-on-month to 140.46 billion U.S. dollars.

The October trade surplus amounted to 17.03 billion U.S. dollars, down 36.5 percent year-on-year.

On a yearly basis, exports were up 15.9 percent, while imports expanded 28.7 percent year-on-year, the GAC said in a statement on its website.

China's foreign trade is set to hit a historic high this year, as exports and imports in the first 10 months increased 24.3 percent from a year earlier to reach 2.97 trillion U.S. dollars, according to the GAC.

During the January-October period, the country's trade surplus narrowed by 15.4 percent year-on-year to 124.02 billion U.S. dollars.

General trade jumped 31.6 percent year-on-year to 1.57 trillion U.S. dollars from January to October, while processing trade advanced 14.2 percent to just over 1 trillion U.S. dollars.

The GAC data showed China's foreign trade with its major trading partners -- the European Union (EU), the United States and Japan -- has slowed this year, compared to stronger growth in foreign trade with emerging economies.

Despite the lingering debt crisis in Europe, the EU remained China's top trading partner during the January-October period, with trade amounting to 466.94 billion U.S. dollars, up 20.2 percent year-on-year.

China's trade with the United States increased 16.8 percent from a year ago to 363.03 billion U.S. dollars.

A free trade area arrangement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) boosted China-ASEAN trade by 25.7 percent year-on-year to 295.91 billion U.S. dollars during the period.

China reported a trade deficit of 21.17 billion U.S. dollars with ASEAN, 59.2 percent greater than a year ago.

The nation exchanged goods and services worth 281.61 billion U.S. dollars with Japan in the first 10 months, a year-on-year increase of 17.7 percent.

China's trade with Australia, Brazil, Russia and South Africa grew much faster than average, increasing by 34.6 percent, 37.4 percent, 43.8 percent and 87 percent, respectively.

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