January 14, 2020 / 3:44 AM / 7 days ago

China December trade beats forecasts: exports up 7.6%, imports up 16.3%

FILE PHOTO - A worker checks containers at a logistics center near Tianjin port, in Tianjin, China December 12, 2019. Picture taken December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yilei Sun

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s exports in December rose 7.6% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, signaling a modest recovery in demand as a preliminary trade deal with the United States raised hopes that a prolonged tariff war will be de-escalated.

It was the first rise in China’s exports since July 2019 and the fastest growth rate since March 2019.

The median forecast from a Reuters poll of analysts had been for a 3.2% rise in exports in December, following November’s 1.3% drop.

Imports in December rose 16.3% from a year earlier. The Reuters poll had forecast 9.6% growth.

China posted a trade surplus of $46.79 billion in December, compared with the poll’s forecast for a $48-billion surplus, up from November’s surplus of $37.93 billion.

(This story corrects milestone reference in paragraph 2 to note December exports rose for first time since July 2019, not March 2019)

Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Kim Coghill

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