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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 07, 2013 11:17 pm

China's January trade boosted by Lunar New Year

By JOE McDONALDAP Business Writer

China's trade growth surged in January as companies rushed to fill orders before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Exports soared 25 percent over a year earlier, up from the previous month's 14.1 percent growth, data showed Friday. Import growth rocketed to 28 percent, more than quadruple the previous month's 6 percent.

Those figures got a big boost from the holiday schedule and longer-term trade measures are unlikely to reflect such strong growth.

Last year's Lunar New Year shutdown began in January, leaving fewer work days and boosting this year's figures by comparison. This year's holiday doesn't start until next week, so companies rushed to fill import and export orders before shutting down.

"Seeing the underlying trend is a little difficult. Nevertheless, the data were above expectations and seem generally positive," said Moody's Analytics economic Alaistair Chan in a report.

Once holiday distortions are factored out, trade growth for the full quarter should be in high single digits, said Goldman Sachs economists in a report.

The trade figures add to evidence China is gradually emerging from its worst economic downturn since the 2008 global crisis.

Factory output and other activity improved in the final quarter of 2012, but analysts say a recovery is still shaky and will be too weak to drive a global rebound without a turnaround in the United States and Europe.


General Administration of Customs of China (in Chinese):