According to data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s trade surplus rose to $31.6 billion in December, compared with $19.6 billion in November and far above analysts’ average forecast of $19.7 billion. China’s exports rose 14.1 percent in December, up from a 2.9 percent increase in November.
The increase comes after last week's report that China's manufacturing activity expanded in December for the third month in a row. The data, released Tuesday by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, showed that the Purchasing Managers' Index remained unchanged, at 50.6 in December, from the previous month. Significantly, the index remained in the expansion zone, with its reading above 50. The expansion of the manufacturing activity should allay fears of a sharp retardation of the Chinese economy.
Moreover, China’s industrial production rose in November compared with October, indicating an upswing in manufacturing output. The National Bureau of Statistics' data showed that industrial production, which measures the change in the total inflation-adjusted value of output produced by manufacturers, mines and utilities, rose 10.1 percent in November, up from 9.6 percent in October, exceeding analysts’ average forecast of 9.8 percent.
But analysts are not completely optimistic about the revival of China’s growth as global economic conditions continue to be weak amid the debt crisis in the euro zone. Gross domestic product growth slowed to 7.4 percent in the third quarter, down from 7.6 percent in the second quarter, due to soft global demand and reduced domestic real estate investment.
Meanwhile, it was reported last month that the rate of inflation in China accelerated in November compared with the same period last year. The National Bureau of Statistics said the consumer price index rose 2 percent in November from a year earlier, up from 1.7 percent in October.
Market participants hope Chinese policymakers will soon announce monetary easing measures to stimulate the economy and increase industrial activity.