China's exports soared a forecast-beating 7.9 percent in January, official data showed Friday, a positive sign for the world's second largest economy and top trading power.
This meant that China's trade surplus jumped to $51.53 billion from December's $40.71 billion.
The Lunar New Year changes every year; however, it usually comes on the first two calendar months, resulting in volatility in China's trade data for the period.
"The growing imports were also attributed to this year's Spring Festival, which arrived earlier than last year", said Xu Yang, an analyst at Sinolink Securities.
Imports had been forecast to rise 10.0 percent, accelerating from 3.1 percent growth in December.
China's overseas shipments rebounded on stronger global demand, putting the nation's external sector on a firmer footing as it braces for potential trade frictions with the USA under Donald Trump's presidency. Imports increased 16.7 percent, which was the fastest pace in four years. The low base a year ago might partially explain the solid recovery in imports, but it is also likely related to the still strong investment in the property market.
By regions, China's trade with European Union, its largest trading partner, rose 14.1 percent year on year, while that with the United States jumped 21.9 percent, with ASEAN countries up 18.8 percent, and with Japan rising 18.4 percent.
China's imports from the USA rose 23.4 percent.
Overall, with the value of exports outpacing imports, the trade surplus expanded by 25 per cent to $US51.4 billion, a handy infusion of cash given ongoing concerns about falling foreign exchange reserves.
Trump hasn't made good yet on his campaign pledges of greater protectionist measures in the early days of his presidency, but analysts say the specter of deteriorating U.S.
The upside surprise in China's January trade data is likely to have been partially because of the holiday effect. The indexes for exports and imports edged up to 50.3 and 50.7 respectively, staying above the 50 demarcation line for three straight months.
China's total trade surplus narrowed in 2016 to $510.7 billion.