China's exports jump 7.9 pct in January from year earlier

In this Jan. 12, 2017 photo, shoppers inspect clothing at a wholesale clothing market in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province. China reports that its exports rose 7.9 percent in January, rebounding from the previous month's contraction, while imports gained 16.7 percent. (Chinatopix via AP)
In this Jan. 12, 2017 photo, shoppers inspect clothing at a wholesale clothing market in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province. China reports that its exports rose 7.9 percent in January, rebounding from the previous month's contraction, while imports gained 16.7 percent. (Chinatopix via AP)

BEIJING — China's exports surged in January, rebounding from the previous month's contraction, and imports rose in a positive sign for the world's second-largest economy.

Exports climbed 7.9 percent from a year earlier to $18.3 billion, recovering from December's 6.1 percent decline, customs data showed Friday. Imports gained 16.7 percent to $13.1 billion, accelerating from the previous month's 3.1 percent expansion.

China's trade figures can be distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times in January and February each year. Factories rush to fill orders before closing for up to two weeks and then restock with a flood of imported raw materials. The holiday began Jan. 27 this year, so some of the shutdown was in January, while last year's break didn't begin until Feb. 7.

"Headline trade data was strong in January," said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report. "Import momentum remained solid, following the impressive sequential run up last year, indicating continued steady domestic demand momentum and higher commodity prices."

Weak demand for Chinese exports adds to pressure on communist leaders who want to avoid politically volatile job losses as they try to nurture self-sustaining economic growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment.

Last year, exports shrank by 7.7 percent. Exports have contracted in each of the past six months except November, when they rose by just 0.1 percent over a year earlier.

Chinese economic growth cooled last year to 6.7 percent, its weakest rate since 1990. Even that weak performance was shored up by heavy government spending and boom in real estate sales supported by a surge in bank lending.

Private sector forecasters and the International Monetary Fund expect growth to cool further this year. Chinese leaders have warned any recovery will be "L-shaped," meaning that while the decline might end, growth won't rebound to the previous decade's heady rates.

Surveys of manufacturers showed activity expanded in January but analysts warned that might not last as Chinese regulators tighten lending controls to cool what they deem a dangerously fast rise in debt and surging housing costs.

"We remain cautious on the outlook for both global demand and Chinese domestic demand later in the year," said Kuijs.

___

General Administration of Customs of China (in Chinese): http://www.customs.gov.cn

Must Read

Asian stocks markets retreat after Wall Street loss

Dec 23, 2016

Most Asian stock markets have declined in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday after Wall...

Asia shares falter as investors watch dollar, await job data

Jan 6, 2017

Asian shares are wavering as a weaker dollar discourages investors who are shying away from risky...

China pledges further cuts in excess steel, coal production

Jan 10, 2017

China's top economic planner has pledged to continue cutting steel and coal production, which have...

A look at how Trump might shake things up in Asia

Jan 16, 2017

Donald Trump has offered views on U.S. relations with Asia that could indicate radical shifts in...

China's exports jump 7.9 pct in January from year earlier

Feb 10, 2017

China reports its exports rose 7.9 percent in January over a year earlier, rebounding from the...

People also read these

China plans 30,000-km high speed rail network by 2020

Dec 29, 2016

The Chinese government is planning to expand the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000...

McDonald's sells China business in deal worth up to $2.1B

Jan 9, 2017

Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its China business to a group of...

Chinese delegation open to meeting Trump's team at Davos

Jan 11, 2017

A Chinese official says President Xi Jinping's delegation to the World Economic Forum is open to...

Asian markets lower amid Brexit worries

Jan 17, 2017

Asian stock markets are mostly lower after Britain said Prime Minister Theresa May will call for a...

China manufacturing activity in January close to 2-year high

Feb 1, 2017

A government survey shows China's manufacturing activity expanded in January at close to its...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales@aseancoverage.com