China's trade surplus fell to USD 19.63 billion in November from a USD 31.99 billion excess in October, as the growth rate of exports slowed, government data showed Monday.
Exports rose 2.9 percent year-on-year to USD 179.38 billion in November, much smaller than October's 11.6-percent growth, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. Imports were unchanged at USD 159.75 billion, compared with an increase of 2.4 percent in October.
In the January-November period, China's trade with the European Union (EU), the nation's largest trading partner, fell 4.1 percent year on year, while that with the US, the country's second-largest partner, grew 8.2 percent from a year ago.
Li Jian, a foreign trade expert from the Ministry of Commerce's research institute, said the decrease was caused by a higher comparative base from last year, as last November saw the largest monthly import volume and the third-largest export volume in 2011, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.
China has targeted growth of 10 percent for total foreign trade this year, a figure that officials have conceded will be hard to achieve.
On the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Commerce Minister Chen Deming warned of lingering pressure on the country's foreign trade from weak global demand, rising domestic costs and growing trade protectionism. Li said full-year foreign trade will likely expand by 6 to 7 percent from last year.
The trade data came after government figures on Sunday showed a revival in the world's second-largest economy. Figures showed that the country's industrial output has continued to pick up and consumer inflation has remained low, while retail sales have maintained strong growth. The economy expanded 7.
4 percent in the third quarter of the year, slowing for seven straight quarters.