CHINA'S exports expanded 25 percent from a year earlier to US$187.4 billion in January, a strong start for this year partly due to seasonal factors, but it still indicates improving external conditions.
Imports also surged 28.8 percent to US$158.2 last month, with domestic demand picking up amid the ongoing recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
Trade surplus hit US$29.2 billion in January, up 7.7 percent year on year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed this morning.
"The increase is expected because there were more working days in this January (than a year before)," said Xue Jun, an analyst at CITIC Securities Co. "But such a strong increase is more than expected, suggesting rapidly strengthening external demand which bodes well for China's trade performance this year."
China's Lunar New Year starts on Sunday, a bit later compared with a year earlier, which leads to 22 working days in this January, more than 17 days in January of last year.
Excluding such effects, the Customs said exports gained 12.4 percent annually last month, while imports added 3.4 percent.
China's business with major trading partners all increased in January.
Shipments with the European Union, China's biggest trading partner, accelerated 10.5 percent to US$47.1 billion. Trade with the United States climbed 23.4 percent to US$43.7 billion and with ASEAN countries, the rate surged to 42.9 percent.
The Customs also said today that a survey showed Chinese exporters are more confident about their future business. In January, 40.9 percent of survey respondents said they are pessimistic for the business in the next two to three months, compared with 46.4 percent respondents in December.
Last year as a whole, China's exports increased 7.9 percent and imports gained 4.3 percent, with net trade contributing 9.6 percent to the country's economy.