Chinese trade data shows signs of industrial recovery

Thu Dec 8, 2016 5:31am EST
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By Yawen Chen and Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's imports grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in November, fueled by its strong thirst for commodities from coal to iron ore, while exports also rose unexpectedly, reflecting a pick-up in both domestic and global demand.

The upbeat data adds to signs of a modest industrial recovery in the world's largest economies, even as China and other Asian exporters brace for a potential trade war once protectionist U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

"The improvement reflects a strengthening in global demand, with recent business surveys suggesting that developed economies are on track to end the year on a strong note," Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Singapore-based Capital Economics, said in a note.

"But while global demand has recovered somewhat recently, lower trend growth in many developed and emerging economies means that further upside is probably limited."

China's November imports expanded 6.7 percent on-year, confounding expectations for a drop of 1.3 percent and the strongest gain since September 2014, data showed on Thursday.

Exports rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier, defying predictions for a 5 percent slide. Demand from all of China's major trading partners improved significantly, especially Europe and the United States, though shipments to emerging economies remained weak.

That left the country with a trade surplus of $44.61 billion for the month, the General Administration of Customs said, versus forecasts of $46.30 billion and October's $49.06 billion.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a more modest drop in November exports after a 7.3 percent contraction in October, while imports had been seen falling at roughly the same pace.   Continued...

Employees stand next to a container ship at Ningbo port in Ningbo, Zhejiang province June 21, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo