Oct. 13 - China's trade surplus narrows for a second month, showing the effects of global economic weakness and domestic cooling; Beijing says strong yuan affecting exports. Arnold Gay reports.
NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4 BY 3 MATERIAL China's trade surplus narrowed for a second straight month in September, showing the effects of global economic weakness and domestic cooling. Both exports and imports grew less than expected, leading to September trade surplus of $14.5 billion compared to nearly $18 billion a month earlier. The data provided some ammunition for Beijing, with customs deputy chief Lu Peijun, saying the strong yuan was hurting China's exports. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) LU PEIJUN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CHINA'S ADMINISTRATION OF CUSTOMS, SAYING: "Another factor that causes uncertainties is the volatile fluctuations of the renmenbi's exchange rates, which will further curb export growth." Economists say the data confirms external demand is falling, but do not see any major shift in Beijing's monetary policy. Mirae Asset Securities' Joy Yang adds China's gradual approach to strengthening the yuan, will likely stay. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOY YANG, CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR GREATER CHINA OF MIRAE ASSET SECURITIES SAYING: "They see that pushing forward renmenbi internationalization is benefiting the whole country over the medium term, but again over the short term they probably cannot take an extreme shock because lots of export-oriented SMEs are having a very difficult time." Still, the value of China's imports and exports are near record highs, and Washington is unlikely to ease up the pressure as lawmakers head into an election year. U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, says he plans to lead several trade and investment missions to the country to promote U.S. exports and create jobs (SOUNDBITE) (English) GARY LOCKE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA SAYING: "As president Obama said, our number one priority in the United States is job creation. And over the next year I'm committed to leading five trade and investment missions to China's emerging cities." The U.S. Senate approved a controversial bill on Tuesday aimed at forcing Beijing to push the yuan higher against the dollar. The bill's supporters argue it would reduce a U.S. trade deficit with China, of more than $250 billion. Arnold Gay, Reuters.