BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's exports of goods rose 2.6 percent year on year in August, while imports fell 2.6 percent, customs data showed Sunday.
Trade surplus stood at 239.6 billion yuan (about 33.79 billion U.S. dollars) last month, expanding 41.8 percent from one year earlier, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
The country's exports grew 6.1 percent year on year in the first eight months of the year, while imports edged up 0.8 percent, leading to a trade surplus of 1.77 trillion yuan, widening 46 percent during the period.
The growth slowed from a rise of 6.7 percent for exports in the first seven months and an increase of 1.3 percent for imports.
Li Qilin, a senior researcher with Lianxun Securities, attributed the moderation to factors including the weakness of major economies and increasingly uncertain global trade environment.
An official survey showed the country's purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector, a gauge of factory activity, dipped to 49.5 in August from 49.7 in July, below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction. The new export order sub-index rebounded by 0.3 points to 47.2.
Facing downward pressure and headwinds from trade frictions, China vowed to take further steps to ensure the stability of employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and expectations, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting Wednesday.
In U.S. dollar-denominated terms, China's exports edged up 0.4 percent during the first eight months, while imports declined 4.6 percent from one year earlier.
The European Union remained as China's largest trading partner during the period, with bilateral trade volume up 9.7 percent from one year earlier to 3.15 trillion yuan, followed by the ASEAN, up 11.7 percent to 2.74 trillion yuan, and the United States, down 9 percent to 2.42 trillion yuan.
China's trade with the Belt and Road countries totaled 5.83 trillion yuan for the January-August period, up 9.9 percent year on year, 6.3 percentage points higher than the overall pace, said the GAC, adding that the amount accounted for 29 percent of China's total trade volume.
The country's crude oil imports went up 9.6 percent to 328 million tonnes during the period, while imports of coal and natural gas increased 8.1 percent and 10.3 percent respectively to 220 million tonnes and 63.04 million tonnes.
The soybean imports, however, fell 9.2 percent from one year earlier to 56.32 million tonnes.
Customs data also showed the country exported more mechanical and electrical products as well as labor-intensive products.