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Chinese trade surplus widens in May

Chinese exports and imports continued to grow in May as the country's trade surplus widened to $40.81 billion, Reuters reported June 8 citing official data.

Exports rose at an annual rate of 8.7% on the back of solid demand from Europe and the U.S., exceeding analysts' forecasts of 7%. Imports surged 14.8% year on year, beating analysts' expectations of an 8.5% growth rate. Crude oil, copper, iron ore and soybean imports rebounded in May on a volume basis.

Analysts expect the Chinese economy to lose steam in the coming months as Beijing pursues a stricter monetary policy aimed at cooling the property market. The country also had to contend with a credit rating downgrade from Moody's Investors over its rising debt.

Chinese exports to the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 11.7% in May while U.S. imports to China grew 27.1% year on year. All considered, Chinese trade surplus with the U.S. for the month stood at $22.0 billion, up from $21.34 billion in April and the highest in seven months, Reuters said.

Reducing the massive trade deficit with China has been one of the main campaign promises of U.S. President Donald Trump. In May, the two countries agreed to increase access for financial services and expand trade in beef and chicken.