China trade data smashes expectations

China's economic recovery appears to be easily beating economist expectations, with a surge in exports and imports.

Chinese exports jumped 14.1 per cent in December compared to a year earlier, while the nation imported 6 per cent more than in had a year before.

The results were a dramatic turnaround from lacklustre export growth of 2.9 per cent in November, a month where imports did not grow at all.

Economist forecasts had centred on export growth of only 4 per cent and import growth of 3 per cent.

Surging exports helped push China's trade surplus to $31.6 billion - up from $19.6 billion in November, and ahead of forecast that were predicting another surplus just under $20 billion.

Many analysts say the result is likely to have been skewed upwards by seasonal factors.

However, HSBC China economist Sun Junwei says imports are set to keep rising this year as the country relies more heavily on consumer spending to drive growth.

"As China's domestic demand has been strengthening it will lift China's import demand," she said.

"So we will expect import growth will be running at a pace slightly faster than China's export growth, so that overall trade balance is likely to be narrowed." An increase in imports is likely to be favourable to Australia, and has seen the local currency rise around half a cent on the data to 105.48 US cents by 3:48pm (AEDT).

The Australian share market also bounced from modest losses to a 0.3 per cent gain.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9270-0.0017-0.18%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5519-0.0015-0.28%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6707-0.0014-0.21%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg