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China May services trade deficit widens to US$18.3b as Chinese tourists splurge

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China's trade deficit in services widened to US$18.3 billion in May, as Chinese tourists continued to spend more abroad than foreigners visiting the country, the foreign exchange regulator said on Tuesday.

[BEIJING] China's trade deficit in services widened to US$18.3 billion in May, as Chinese tourists continued to spend more abroad than foreigners visiting the country, the foreign exchange regulator said on Tuesday.

The deficit was led by a US$16.2 billion gap in spending between Chinese and foreign tourists, according to data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

The country posted a US$17.3 billion deficit on trade in services in April. Last year the services sector had a deficit of US$10.2 billion in May.

For the first five months, China had a deficit of US$76.7 billion in services trade and a surplus of US$207.8 billion on trade in goods, producing a combined surplus on trade in goods and services of US$131 billion, the data showed.

Beijing has promised to further open up China's services sector, which is dominated by Chinese companies, to foreign investment but the process has been gradual.

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The government has been trying to boost the services sector to create more jobs at a time when factories are struggling, but analysts warn that clumsy attempts to force the transition could do more harm than good.

REUTERS

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