BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China's exports in December grew 14.1 percent from a year earlier to hit a seven-month peak, data showed on Thursday, rebounding from three-month lows and racing past market expectations for a 4 percent rise.
Imports grew 6 percent on the year in December, also handily beating market forecasts for a 3 percent rise and quickening from zero growth in November.
- Exports 14.1 pct yr/yr (forecast +4.0 pct) vs +2.9 pct in Nov
- Imports 6 pct yr/yr (forecast +3.0 pct) vs 0.0 pct in Nov
- Trade surplus $31.6 bln (forecast $19.7 bln) vs $19.6 bln in Nov
XIANFANG REN, SENIOR ANALYST, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT IN BEIJING:
'The jump is pretty big, I suspect some technical factors are at play. It's possible that some shipments were booked late in the year.
'There may be some global revival as well, for instance in the U.S., but I am a bit dubious. Look at the Canton Trade Fair figures - they don't bode well for 2013.'
CONNIE TSE, ECONOMIST AT FORECAST PTE, SINGAPORE:
'Into 2013, we look for export growth to average 12 percent. This is not without obstacles however, and growth is likely to be volatile and gradual, even with stabilization on the U.S. front and a recovering Asia.
'Domestically, China is faced with the longer-term structural rise in labour costs and a strengthening yuan.'
MA XIAOPING, ECONOMIST AT HSBC IN BEIJING:
'It's a temporary rise in exports. At the year-end exporters tend to respond quickly to increase in external orders. The temporary rise could be a result of some seasonal factors that resulted in the spike.
'If you look at the fundamentals of the U.S. and Europe, this could be a temporary rise. In coming years we expect growth to remain at a low level, below 10 percent for 2013. Imports show domestic demand gaining momentum. Import growth will be a little bit better than exports but should also be below 10 percent.'
KEVIN LAI, ECONOMIST, DAIWA IN HONG KONG:
'The December export figure is not a big surprise given the low base. We're hitting a low base for the next several months, so that means the headline will be looking OK for December and for the first quarter.
'I suspect that smartphone shipments were still quite strong into December given new launches that month.
The picture is still more mixed regionally. Korea was bad but Taiwan was pretty good.'
For details, see the customs website in Chinese, http://www.customs.gov.cn
- The CSI300 Index of leading shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.57 percent in early trade. The Chinese yuan was trading at 6.2239 per dollar.
- China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming said late last month that China's foreign trade is likely to grow by 6 percent in 2012, while the country is on track to attract $110 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI).
- China has lowered some administrative customs fees for exporters and importers in 2013 to reduce their burdens and boost trade growth.
- The Chinese economy has shown positive changes since September, raising hopes that it may snap out of its longest downward cycle since the global financial crisis and trend upwards in the final quarter.
- Beijing has long pledged to boost imports to balance its trade structure and pursue a more sustainable growth model by tilting the economy more towards domestic consumption.
(Reporting By Beijing Economics Team; Editing by Jacqueline Wong) Keywords: CHINA ECONOMY/TRADE
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