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China July trade surplus hits $14.6 bln record high

Written by: Staff

SHANGHAI, Aug 9 (Reuters) China's trade surplus rose to a record .61 billion in July, exceeding the previous peak of .5 billion in June, the official Shanghai Securities News said on Wednesday.

Exports hit .34 billion in July, up 22.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports rose 19.7 percent to .72 billion, the newspaper quoted a source familiar with the figures as saying.

It said the customs office would announce the data on Wednesday or Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a surplus of .5 billion based on export growth of 23.6 percent and import growth of 20.8 percent.

If confirmed, the figure would take China's 12-month rolling trade surplus to 6.8 billion from 2.6 billion in June.

The surplus trebled in calendar year 2005 to 2 billion and the State Information Centre, a key government think-tank, said it is likely to swell further to 6 billion this year.

''We expect China's foreign trade will tend to be more balanced in the second half of 2006,'' the think-tank said in a research report published in the newspaper.

It forecast China's exports to grow 24 percent in all of 2006, with imports rising 21 percent.

Reuters DH VP0605

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