BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) -- China's total service trade volume expanded by 15.6 percent year on year in the first quarter to 138.8 billion U.S. dollars, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Monday.
"Generally speaking, China's service trade continues its momentum of relatively fast growth," the MOC said in a statement on its website.
Exports of services rose 14 percent to 53 billion U.S. dollars and imports surged 16.6 percent to 85.8 billion U.S. dollars. Trade deficit soared by 21 percent to 32.8 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter.
The ministry added that the proportion of China's service trade to its total trade volume, including both trade of goods and services, edged up 1.6 percentage points to 12.8 percent in the first quarter.
China's service trade deficit has been on the rise in recent years. The deficit reached 118.46 billion dollars last year, up from 89.7 billion dollars in 2012 and 54.92 billion dollars in 2011, MOC data showed.