China exports, imports surprise with robust January growth

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The dollar value of China’s exports exited contraction to grow markedly more than expected in January as imports also shot higher, marking a strong start to the year for the country’s cross-border trade.

Exports jumped 7.9 per cent year on year in dollar terms last month, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs. That was more than double a median estimate from economists surveyed by Reuters and pointed to a strong rebound for outbound shipments after contraction of 6.1 per cent in December.

Imports also outperformed with a rise of 16.7 per cent year-on-year in dollar terms in January, having grown just 3.1 per cent in December. That was also comfortably above a median forecast of 10 per cent growth.

Trade flows brought China’s balance of trade to $51.35bn, roughly $3bn above expectations and about $10.5bn higher than December’s level. That balance came to Rmb354.5bn in local-currency terms.

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