Mainland Chinese tourists take pictures during a cruise on the River Thames, central London. Photo: Reuters/Paul Hacket

The trade deficit in services for China almost doubled year over year in May to US$18.3 billion, up from only US$10.2 billion in May of last year, reports Reuters. The deficit for April was US$17.3 billion.

US$16.2 billion of that number was accounted for by the gap between Chinese tourists’ spending abroad and that of foreign travelers in China.

The number has put a not insignificant dent in the country’s overall trade surplus. The services gap for the first five months totaled US$76.7 billion, versus a surplus for trade in goods of US$207.8 billion, bringing the combined surplus to US$131 billion.

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