China's Latest Economic Data Show Strong, Sustainable Growth, Inflation Under Control

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    A slab is lifted onto steel pillars at a construction site of the three-story D3 cafeteria built by the Broad Group in Yueyang, Hunan province, April 24, 2012.
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China's exports and imports surged last month, far more than expected, its aggregate financing topped analyst expectations and inflation slowed, indicating that the world's No. 2 economy is set for strong and sustainable growth.

Imports surged nearly 29 percent and exports climbed 25 percent, narrowing China's trade surplus to $28.2 billion, Reuters said Friday.

Financing jumped to 2.54 trillion yuan ($407 billion), and inflation appears under control: It fell in January to 2 percent from December's 2.5 percent, which was a seven-month high.

"Overall this says there is no need to worry about the strength of China's recovery," Sun Junwei, a China economist with HSBC told Reuters.

"These were very strong numbers, particularly total social financing. This says to me that beyond the rebound in bank lending there is strong demand for credit in the economy."

Other analysts were less impressed with the numbers, however.

"The sharp movements in January's inflation and trade data, both released today, are largely the result of seasonal distortions around the Chinese New Year rather than shifts in the underlying economy," said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist for Capital Economics.

"Chinese New Year this year falls on 10th February (this coming Sunday) but was on 23rd January in 2012."

He also noted that the shift in timing reduced inflation, because food prices typically peak at the time of the festival, adding that non-food price inflation, "less affected by the seasonal distortion, was roughly stable."

 

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