China’s trade surplus dropped in January compared with that in the previous month but was better than expected, indicating that the world’s second-largest economy is reviving.

According to the data released Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), the country’s trade balance, which measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, was $29.2 billion in January from $31.60 billion in December. But that was  better than analysts’ expectation of $22 billion. China’s exports rose 17.3 percent in January, from a 14.1 percent increase in December.

It was reported last week that China's manufacturing activity expanded to a two-year high in January, according to the HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The final reading of the PMI, a measure of nationwide manufacturing activity, rose to 52.30 in January from 51.5 in December.

However, the data released last week by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed that the PMI dropped to 50.4 in January from 50.6 in December. Significantly, the index remained in the expansion zone, a reading above 50.

Last month, it was reported that China’s economy rose at a better-than-expected rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating a revival of the economic growth momentum. According to the data released last month by the NBS, gross domestic product, which measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced, rose to 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, from 7.4 percent in the third quarter.

The data released last month by the NBS showed that the country’s industrial production, which measures the change in the total inflation-adjusted value of output produced by manufacturers, mines and utilities, rose 10.3 percent in December, up from 10.1 percent in November.

However, analysts are not fully optimistic about the revival of China’s growth as the global economic conditions continue to be weak amid the debt crisis in the euro zone. Market participants hope that Chinese policymakers will soon announce monetary easing measures to further stimulate the economy and increase the industrial activity.