China’s unadjusted merchandise trade surplus advanced to $28.60 billion in August from $17.82 billion in July, the country’s General Administration of Customs reported Sunday at 10 a.m. Beijing time (Saturday at 10 p.m. EDT). Meanwhile, the nation’s exports climbed by a more-than-anticipated 7.2 percent and its imports rose by a less-than-expected 7.0 percent last month, year over year, according to Agence France-Presse.

Economists polled by Reuters had anticipated China’s trade surplus in August would be about $20 billion. They also had expected growth year over year of 6.0 percent in exports last month, compared with 5.1 percent in July, and of 11.3 percent in imports last month, compared with 10.9 percent in July.

China’s latest balance-of-trade figures are consistent with recently released manufacturing purchasing managers’ index data indicating that this sector of the world’s second-largest economy may have troughed in the middle of the year, although the unanticipated move in imports could prove to be problematic.

China’s merchandise trade balance as reported here is the difference in U.S. dollar value between the country’s exported and imported goods.