China exports power ahead on demand from US, Europe

China exports power ahead on demand from US, Europe

BEIJING - China's exports grew much more strongly than expected in November, official figures showed Sunday, as a rebound in overseas shipments gained strength on demand from the United States and Europe.

Exports increased 12.7 per cent to US$202.2 billion from November last year, the General Administration of Customs said - compared with a forecast of seven per cent in a poll of 11 economists by the Wall Street Journal reported by Dow Jones Newswires.

Imports were up 5.3 per cent year-on-year to US$168.4 billion, with China's November trade surplus expanding to US$33.8 billion from US$31.1 billion in October.

The November surplus was also considerably larger than the median forecast of US$21.7 billion by the 11 economists.

The surprisingly strong exports data came after overseas shipments expanded 5.6 per cent in October following a decline of 0.3 per cent in September.

"China's November exports came in much higher than expected", ANZ bank economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao said in a report, citing "better demand from developed economies" the United States and the European Union.

The latest trade data came after China's economy snapped out of a first-half slump, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter accelerating to 7.8 per cent after it slowed during the first two quarters.

Earlier this month, official figures showed that China's manufacturing growth in November maintained a strong pace from the previous month to stay at a 19-month high.

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) was at 51.4, unchanged from October, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

A reading above 50 signals expansion while a figure below indicates contraction.

In the first 11 months of the year, China's total trade, combining exports and imports, reached US$3.8 trillion, up 7.7 per cent from the same period last year, Customs said. The government's target for 2013 is eight per cent.

"The data in January-November suggest that China could achieve the eight per cent trade growth target for the whole year", Liu and Zhou said.

They cautioned, however, against over-optimism, stressing what they described as "inflated export growth in the first half of the year" when companies were caught over-invoicing, which instigated a crackdown by Chinese authorities on the practice.

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