China’s exports jumped 9.9% from a year ago in December, beating consensus estimates of a 6.8% increase and also stronger than a 4.7% climb in November, according to data released by China’s General Administration of Customs.
Imports fell 2.3% in December, narrower than a forecast drop of 7.4% and following November’s much larger 6.7% decline.
This resulted a trade surplus of US$49.1 billion, compared with an estimated US$49.85 billion and a US$54.47 billion surplus in November.
"Acceleration of export growth was mainly driven by strong demand from the US given its solid growth momentum," says a BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report. "Faster headline import growth in value terms was due mainly to rising imports volume as China bought on dip to rebuild its inventory."
The bank expects the elevated trade surplus could be sustained for several months on falling crude oil prices, while export growth could soften on strong RMB.