China Nov exports up 4.7 pct yr/yr, well below forecast

An investor looks at information displayed on an electronic screen at a brokerage house in Shanghai.

BEIJING, Dec 8 (Reuters) - China's exports rose 4.7 per cent in Nov from a year earlier, while imports dropped 6.7 per cent, well below expectations and adding to concerns the world's second-largest economy could be facing a sharper slowdown.

The readings left the country with a trade surplus of US$54.5 billion (S$72.1 billion) for the month, the General Administration of Customs said on Monday.

Economists polled by Reuters poll had expected an 8.2 per cent rise in exports, a 3.9 per cent rise in imports and a trade surplus of US$43.5 billion.

Annual economic growth slowed to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter - the weakest since the height of the global financial crisis - as the sagging housing market and tighter credit conditions weigh on the economy.

After saying for months that China does not need any big economic stimulus, the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates for the first time in over two years on Nov 21 to spur growth and bring down financing costs.

Economists expect more policy easing in coming months.