BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's service trade deficit continued to rise for a third month in January, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) showed Wednesday.
The deficit stood at about 21.8 billion U.S. dollars last month, up from 20.6 billion U.S. dollars in December last year, the SAFE data showed.
Income from trade in services was about 20.3 billion U.S. dollars, while expenditures totaled around 42.2 billion U.S. dollars.
In contrast to merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing, and accounting.
China has taken steps to improve the development of trade in services, including gradually opening up the finance, education, culture, and medical treatment sectors.
In January, a government-backed investment fund of 30 billion yuan (about 4.74 billion U.S. dollars) was launched to guide the development of the service trade industry.
SAFE began issuing monthly data on 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 24.2 billion U.S. dollars in foreign merchandise trade.