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China Exports Rise More Than Estimated

Yangshan Deep Water Port
A truck driver walks past a shipping container being moved at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone's Yangshan free trade port area, in Shanghai. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China’s exports rose more than estimated in November, pushing the trade surplus to the highest in more than four years in a sign global demand is helping sustain a recovery in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Overseas shipments rose 12.7 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said today in Beijing. That exceeded estimates from 41 of 42 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The trade surplus of $33.8 billion was the biggest since January 2009, while imports gained 5.3 percent, compared with a median projection of 7 percent.

The export figures reflect pickups in shipments to the U.S., Europe and South Korea, according to customs data. Stronger demand from abroad may give Premier Li Keqiang more room to implement reforms to increase the role of markets in the economy while helping meet the 7.2 percent annual growth pace he says is needed to ensure stable employment.

“November turned out to be a pretty blockbuster month for Chinese exporters,” said Steve Wang, chief China economist in Hong Kong at Reorient Financial Markets Ltd., an investment bank backed by the Chinese government. It remains to be seen if the momentum will continue, with a previous purchasing managers’ survey showing new export orders are “not as strong as what people had hoped,” Wang said.

Analysts’ estimates for export gains ranged from 2.1 percent to 13.2 percent, with a median projection of 7 percent. The median estimate for the trade surplus was $21.2 billion.

Stocks Gain

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7 percent last week for a fourth straight gain after the Communist Party’s Nov. 9-12 summit in Beijing, where leaders agreed on the broadest policy shifts since the 1990s. The yuan strengthened to 6.0817 per dollar.

Overseas shipments rose 5.8 percent from October on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared with a 3.8 percent decline in the previous month, customs data showed today.

The trade figures kick off a series of November data releases, with the statistics bureau set to report tomorrow on inflation and the following day on industrial production and retail sales, along with fixed-asset investment for the first 11 months of the year. Figures on new yuan loans, aggregate financing and money supply are due from the People’s Bank of China over the coming week.

Previously released surveys of purchasing managers showed this month that service-industry expansion cooled in November, while an official gauge of manufacturing was unchanged from October and a separate one from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics fell.

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