China's trade surplus hit £11.4bn in May, marking a 73% on the same period last year. The figure - close to February's $23.7bn all-time high - beat forecasts. China's trade surplus has rocketed in recent years, with overseas sales of low cost Chinese consumer goods growing significantly, especially in the US. The data could fuel tensions with the US, where politicians accuse China of having an overly weak currency to boost exports.

They argue that the presence of cheaper goods in the shops for US consumers is outweighed by the harm caused to US firms. The latest figure puts the annual rate trade surplus at $216.7bn, up from $207.3bn in April. At current levels, the surplus could tip beyond $320bn - marking a tenfold increase on 2004's level, said Capital Economics analyst Mark Williams, who said the trend was "astonishing".


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