China’s April services trade deficit widens to $17.3 billion

BEIJING (Reuters) – China posted a wider $17.3 billion deficit on trade in services in April, led by a $15.6 billion gap in tourism as more Chinese travel overseas, the foreign exchange regulator said on Friday.

China had a surplus of $31.1 billion on trade in goods in April, giving a combined surplus on trade in goods and services of $13.8 billion, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said.

No comparative figures were given.

In March, the services sector had a deficit of $15 billion.

Chinese leaders have promised to open up the largely sheltered service sector wider to foreign firms to help bolster the sector’s competitiveness, but the process has been gradual.

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.

For the first four months, China had a deficit of $58.5 in services trade and a surplus of $148.9 billion on trade in goods, producing a combined surplus on trade in goods and services of about $90.5 billion, the data showed.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam)

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