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China July exports rise despite US tariffs

China's trade surplus fell in July as exports and imports grew faster than expected even as the country's trade dispute with the U.S heated up during the month, according to media reports.

In dollar terms, China's exports climbed 12.2% in July from the year-ago period, the Financial Times reported, citing data from the General Administration of Customs released Aug. 8.

Imports jumped 27.3% in July from the prior-year period with purchases of copper and iron ore rising from June. As a result, trade surplus eased to $28.1 billion in July from $41.5 billion in June, the Financial Times reported.

The U.S. took 19.3% of China's exports in July, down from 19.7% in June. Shipments from the U.S. accounted for 7.2% of China's total imports in July, down 0.6 percentage point from June and the lowest level to date for 2018.

China's trade surplus with the U.S. dipped slightly to $28.09 billion in July from a record $28.97 billion in June, Reuters reported.

The July figures are the first readings on China's overall trade after U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports took effect July 6. Washington has criticized China's trade surplus with the U.S. and has demanded its reduction in trade negotiations.

In yuan terms, China-U.S. trade volume in the first seven months of 2018 amounted to 2.29 trillion yuan, up 5.2% and accounting for 13.7% of China's total trade volume, China Daily reported.

China's trade surplus with the U.S. rose 6.4% to 1.04 trillion yuan through to July, as exports to the U.S. climbed 5.6% to 1.66 trillion yuan in the period.

The U.S. said Aug. 7 that it will begin collecting tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods on Aug. 23 after releasing a final list of products covered by the duties that follow the July tariffs. On Aug. 3, Beijing threatened to impose new tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. imports after Washington proposed raising to 25% from 10% its threatened tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The yuan was up 0.12% to 6.82 per dollar as of 1:10 p.m. in Beijing. The Shanghai Composite index was down 0.32%.

As of Aug. 7, US$1 was equivalent to 6.83 Chinese yuan.