While China’s total trade surplus with the US for the first quarter of this year doubled that of last year, the numbers for March dropped sharply from February, to US$6.9 billion from US$23.7 billion.  Economists expect this to be just a temporary ebb, likely due to increased exports in February ahead of pulled export tax rebates.

“Our expectation is that the monthly trade surplus will stay above $20-billion,” said Citigroup's Shen Minggao.

Trade relations between the two countries have become increasingly tense in recent weeks.  The laundry list of US complaints includes criticism of China’s currency policy, unfair subsidies for domestic industry, lack of open markets, and failure to crack down on rampant piracy.


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