China's April Trade Surplus Falls

Beijing's trade surplus fell about 1 percent to a still-robust $16.8 billion amid weaker global demand for Chinese goods.

BEIJING (AP) -- China's trade surplus in April fell about 1 percent to a still-robust US$16.8 billion (euro10.8 billion) amid weaker global demand for Chinese goods, according to data reported Monday.

China's surplus with Europe jumped by 34.8 percent to US$12 billion (euro7.8 billion) while that with the United States saw much slower growth, rising by 4 percent to US$13 billion (euro8.4 billion), according to data released by the Chinese customs agency.

China's global trade gap in April was bigger than that in February or March but well below monthly figures last year that often exceeded US$20 billion (euro13 billion).

The growing Chinese trade gap with the 27-nation European Union has prompted the EU to join Washington in lobbying Beijing to ease currency controls and import barriers.

The surge in exports to Europe is due in part to the rise in the euro against China's currency, the yuan, which makes Chinese goods more attractive to European consumers.

By contrast, the dollar has fallen against the yuan, making Chinese goods more expensive for American consumers at a time when uncertainty about the U.S. economy has hurt retail spending.

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