December sees growth in China's service trade deficit

China continued to see a deficit in foreign service trade last December and the volume has expanded, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) showed Thursday.

Income from trade in services stood at 23.1 billion U.S. dollars, while expenditures were 45.7 billion U.S. dollars.

In contrast to merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as tourism, advertising, computing and accounting.

China has taken steps to accelerate the development of trade in services, including gradually opening up the sectors of transportation, finance, education, culture and medical treatment.

The SAFE began issuing monthly data on the service trade in January 2014 to improve the transparency of balance of payments statistics. Since the start of 2015, it has also included monthly data on merchandise trade in its reports.

Last month, China saw a surplus of 55.7 billion U.S. dollars in foreign merchandise trade, the SAFE said.