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[BEIJING] China's December imports missed market expectations, rising only 4.5 per cent year-on-year, while exports beat forecasts with 10.9 per cent growth, official data showed on Friday.
That left the country with a trade surplus of US$54.69 billion for the month, according to a Reuters calculation based on official data.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected December shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 9.1 per cent, slower than the 12.3 per cent increase in the previous month.
Imports had been forecast to rise 13.0 per cent, softening from an 17.7 per cent gain seen in November, with the trade surplus tipped at US$37.0 billion last month from November's US$40.21 billion.
Exports rose 7.9 per cent for the year, while imports increased 15.9 per cent in dollar terms, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
After several lean years, China's trade performance rebounded in 2017 thanks to strong demand at home and abroad.
While exports are contributing to China's growth once again, its strong appetite for industrial commodities such as iron ore and coal has also boosted resources prices worldwide in a boon to the global economy.