BEIJING—China’s exports strengthened unexpectedly in September despite its worsening trade dispute with the U.S., while the two countries’ trade gap hit a fresh high.
Total exports rose 14.5% from a year earlier, accelerating from a 9.8% increase in August, the General Administration of Customs said Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast an 8.8% growth in overseas shipments.
Imports were up 14.3% in September from a year earlier, slowing from a 20% increase the previous month but beating economists’ median forecast of 16.0% growth.
China’s total trade surplus widened to $31.69 billion from $27.91 billion the previous month, customs data showed. Economists had expected an $18 billion surplus.
Its trade surplus with the U.S. widened to $34.1 billion in September from $31.1 billion in August, according to Wall Street Journal calculations based on customs data, a fresh record high.
Since early July, the Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing has retaliated with punitive taxes on $110 billion of U.S. products.
Mr. Trump has also pledged to put more tariffs on an additional $257 billion of Chinese products, essentially subjecting all of the U.S.’s Chinese imports to such penalties.