China Exports Rise Less Than Expected In September

The improvement in Chinese trade data comes ahead of the Communist Party's twice-a-decade congressMore

China's September natural gas imports rose 3.3 percent to their highest since December a year ago, according to Reuters calculations based on official data, as one of the world's top energy markets shored up fuel supplies ahead of winter demand.

Imports in September rose 19.5% in yuan terms from a year earlier, compared with a 14.4% rise in August, the General Administration of Customs said.

The country's trade surplus last month narrowed to 193 billion yuan ($29.3 billion) from 286.49 billion yuan in August.

Trade figures in dollars will be released later in the day.

China's service imports continued to substantially outvalue exports in the first eight months due to strong domestic demand.

The value of service imports gained 12.2 percent year on year to 2.13 trillion yuan ($320 billion) in the January-August period, while exports only increased 4.4 percent to 926.69 billion yuan, resulting in a 1.2-trillion-yuan deficit, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday in a statement.

Imports jumped 18.7% last month from a year ago to $169.8 billion, the fastest in six months, the data showed. The rise beat the poll's forecast for a 15% gain.

Both the trade volume and the share of private enterprises increased, as their combined volume rose 17.8 percent and accounted for 38.5 percent of the total, larger than the share for the same period of previous year.

Asian LNG spot prices are now at $8.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since mid-January, due to the growing demand from China.

China's economic data have been showing robust growth ahead of leadership changes set to happen at the upcoming Party Congress.

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