BEIJING (AP) — China's trade growth accelerated in September in a sign of resilient global and domestic consumer demand.
Exports rose 8.1 percent to $198.3 billion, up from August's 5.5 percent, trade data showed Friday. Imports rose 18.7 percent to $169.8 billion, an improvement from the previous month's 13.3 percent.
The figures were a positive sign for Chinese demand despite forecasters' expectations that economic growth will slow this year as Beijing tightens controls on bank lending to rein in surging debt.
Business activity stepped up also due partly to the late timing of the country's Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which left more working days in September than in the same month of 2016.
Export growth was unexpectedly strong in the first half of the year, a positive sign for Chinese leaders who want to avoid job losses in trade-related industries as they try to nurture consumer-led economic growth.
China has been credited with helping to support global demand and weaker imports might hurt suppliers for whom this country is a major market.
The International Monetary Fund expects this year's economic growth to slip to 6.6 percent from last year's 6.7 percent and to below 6.2 percent in 2018.
China's global trade surplus in September shrank 38.6 percent from the same time last year to $28.5 billion.
The politically volatile surplus with the United States was $28.1 billion. U.S. officials have resumed criticizing Chinese policy after President Donald Trump said in April he would temporarily shelve disputes while Washington and Beijing cooperated on North Korea.
The surplus with the 28-nation European Union, China's biggest trading partner, was $9.2 billion.
General Administration of Customs of China (in Chinese): www.customs.gov.cn