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China's Jan trade figures surge, raising questions

Most analysts are doubtful about reliability of data

CHINA's trade data surged last month, potentially pointing to a stronger-than-expected economy, but has left many analysts scratching their heads wondering why.

The value of China's total exports climbed 10.6 per cent in January from a year earlier, the Customs Administration said, more than five times market forecasts of a 2-per cent rise.

The value of imports jumped 10 per cent from a year ago, a pace not seen since July and beating market predictions of a 3-per cent gain.

Imports of commodities including crude oil, iron ore and copper all hit record highs.

The country's trade surplus rose to US$31.9 billion, well above forecasts of US$23.7 billion and the US$25.6 billion surplus in December.

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