China's exporters will face very severe conditions in the first quarter of 2012, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday, with Europe's debt crisis dragging on and dampening demand.

The overall trade environment next year for China will be complicated, partly due to the economic uncertainties in the European countries, and I should say that the export situation in the first quarter of next year will be very severe, Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told a news conference.

Growth in Chinese exports and imports slowed in November, fresh evidence of faltering demand abroad and at home that is pushing Beijing towards a more explicit pro-growth policy stance, according to data published on December 10.

Customs data showed exports at their most sluggish in two years -- stripping out the volatile month of February.

(Reporting by Aileen Wang and Nick Edwards; Editing by Ken Wills)