In August, sales grew by 5.5 percent year-on-year to USD 199.22 billion, slowing from a 7.2 percent rise in the prior month while market expected a 6.0 percent gain. It was the weakest increase in outbound shipments since a 2 percent fall in February, due to softening global demand.
Sales to the US went up 8.4 percent, easing from a 8.9 percent rise in the prior month. Those to the EU countries rose at a slower 5.2 percent (from 10.1 percent in July). In addition, exports to Japan increased less 1.1 percent (after a 6.6 percent rise in a month earlier). Meantime, exports to South Korea grew at a faster 7.7 percent (from 3.6 percent).
Imports increased by 13.3 percent, following an 11 percent increase in a month earlier to USD 157.19 billion and above estimates of a 10.0 percent. It marked the tenth straight month of growth in inbound shipments, with purchases of industrial commodities continuing to lead the way.
The trade surplus with the US, China's largest export market, widened to USD 26.23 billion from USD 25.20 billion in July. It is the highest surplus since September of 2015.
Considering January to August 2017, the trade surplus came in at USD 273.67 billion. down from a USD 338.07 billion surplus in the same period the preceding year.
In yuan-denominated terms, exports increased by 6.9 percent from a year earlier in August, following a 11.2 percent rise in July. Inbound shipments rose 14.4 percent, after growing 14.7 percent in the prior month.