China’s exports beat expectations in December

<p>Exports in the world’s second economy surged 9.7 per cent.</p>

Chinese exports surged 9.7 per cent in December, while imports were down 2.3 per cent from a year earlier. The stronger overseas demand gave the world's second economy a trade surplus of $49.61 billion (£32.9 billion), the customs administration said in Beijing.

"China’s exports will be enough to provide support for overall growth, but won’t be strong enough to spark a rebound," Li Miaoxian, Beijing-based economist at Bocom International Holdings Co., told Bloomberg. 

"The better-than-expected performance of imports showed China’s domestic demand isn’t that weak — in fact, it’s quite stable if the distortion from the oil price fall is excluded."

The final numbers for the year mean exports rose 6.1 per cent in 2014 compared with 2013, while imports rose 0.4 per cent, according to official figures quoted by Xinhua news agency.

Stronger demand from the US, Europe and south-east Asia last month helped boost exports, according to the official data. However, Cargo shipments to Japan declined due to a weakening yen.

"Many, including us, had expected the sharp falls in the price of oil and other commodities to have weighed heavily on the value of commodity imports. However, it appears that falling prices were more than offset by a pick-up in import volumes. Looking ahead, although the global economy remains fragile, we nonetheless expect growth in many of China’s key export markets, such as the US, to stage a slight recovery this year," Julian Evans-Pritchard, from Capital Economics, told the Wall Street Journal.

China's economic growth slowed to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2014, marking its weakest quarter since the start of the global financial crisis.

The country's growth rate for 2014 will be announced next week, and many analysts believe the growth will fail to reach the government's target of about 7.5 per cent for the year.

Find up to date information on the FTSE 100 and spread betting strategies at City Index.

Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.