China’s current-account surplus – a measure which includes the trade surplus, as well as other items like interest payments – declined 43.5% year-on-year in the third quarter to US$57.8 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. The surplus as a percentage of GDP in turn dropped to 3%, down from 5.1% last year. The new reading suggests that China’s economic transition from export-oriented to consumer-driven growth may be proceeding faster than many critics had expected. The new figure might also give China’s leaders more breathing space when negotiating with the US and other nations over its allegedly undervalued currency; at a G20 summit last November, the US pushed for a 4% surplus as the standard for determining whether currency values were being suppressed. “[Chinese leaders] can go out and say, ‘We’re doing our job so leave us alone,'” said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Dragonomics Research.