China's trade surplus with its trading partners widened as much as 13 percent to $102.2 billion in the fourth quarter, according to the preliminary data released on Monday by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

The surplus figure was almost unchanged from the third quarter's $102.3 billion surplus, which was more than double the year-earlier figure, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting SAFE data.

China's widening trade surplus against the U.S. has been a matter of contention between the two largest economies of the world. The U.S. has accused China of keeping its currency artificially low to give competitive advantage to its exporters.

However, runaway growth in China's inflation is expected to reduce the country's trade surplus with the U.S. and other trading partners. There are already reports that Chinese shipments to its Western trading partners are seeing a relative lull in recent weeks as prices of export items have gone up thanks to an unprecedented commodities boom.

Chinese inflation is around five percent currently, prompting the government to unveil a slew of measures to prevent the economy from overheating.