China Exports Rise at Strongest Pace in Eight Months: Customs

China's November copper imports jump by 42.3 pct month on month

Figures posted on the customs department website show exports expanded 12.3 per cent to $217.4 billion in November over a year earlier. This marks the highest growth rate since March's 15.7% and beat the median forecast of a mere 5.3% rise in a Bloomberg News poll of economists.

China's exports and imports unexpectedly accelerated last month in an encouraging sign for the world's second-biggest economy, though analysts expect growth to continue cooling amid a government crackdown on financial risks and polluting factories.

In local currency terms, exports rose by 10.3% year-year, well above the 2% increase expected by economists. The surplus was forecast to fall to USD35.0 billion from about USD38.2 billion in October.

China's imports have been growing at a double-digit pace since January.

China's natural gas imports in November rose to a record as domestic demand surged while crude imports were the second-highest ever, as refiners ramped up output to cash in on strong profits as fuel prices soar.

As a result, the trade surplus totaled USD40.2 billion in November.

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"Steel mills have been restocking more iron ore since October as prices hit as low as $50 (a tonne)", said Yu Yang, an analyst with Shenyin & Wanguo Futures in Shanghai.

Iron ore imports also lifted, jumping to 94.54 million tonnes from 79.49 million tonnes in October.

It accounted for almost 70% of China's total trade surplus with all its trading partners, which widened to $40.21bn from $38.2bn the previous month.

The data underscored the resilience of China's heavy industry, even as many steel mills, aluminum producers and other manufacturers in the world's top consumer of industrial raw materials prepared for deep production cuts as part of Beijing's blitz on winter smog.

Despite the overall strength of the November data, imports could come under pressure as China's economy cools, analysts say.

"We expect exports to continue to perform well in the coming months on the back of strong global demand", said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist with Capital Economics.