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--Adds Comment by Ex-Stats Official in Second Paragraph
     BEIJING (MNI) - China's exports decline eased in October from September,
while imports dropped further due to weak domestic demand, the latest data
released by the General Administration of Customs on Friday showed.
     "Consumption is still dropping, and it can't be offset by boosting
investment alone," which is also weak with business profits declining, Xu
Xianchun, a former deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics, told
MNI. The government will need to use various policy tools next year, he said. 
     Here are the key points from the customs data released today:
     - Exports fell 0.9% y/y to $212.90 billion, easing from last month's 3.2%
y/y drop. It was the first improvement in the last three months. Exports in the
first 10 month shrank 0.2% from last year.
     - Imports dropped for the sixth straight month by 6.4% y/y to $170.12
billion, slower than the 8.5% y/y fall recorded in September. Imports in Jan-Oct
were down 5.1% y/y.
     - Trade surplus expanded to $42.81 billion from $39.65 billion in the
previous month, rounding the year-to-date total to $340.29 billion.
- Exports to the U.S. fell 16.2% y/y following a 21.9% drop in September, while
imports were down 14.4%, recovering from last month's 15.7% y/y fall. Exports to
the EU rose by 3.1% y/y compared with a 0.1% gain in September. Imports from the
EU were down 13.9% y/y, following September's 6.5% y/y drop. 
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 10 8532 5998; email: william.bi@mni-news.com
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