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China Exports Exceed Estimates in Sign of Global Pickup
11/10/2012 12:31:26 PM

Overseas shipments increased 11.6 percent from a year earlier, the Beijing-based customs administration said in a statement today. That compared with the 10 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists and a 9.9 percent gain in September. Imports increased 2.4 percent, the same pace as the previous month. The trade surplus was $32 billion.

China’s transition to a new generation of Communist Party leaders, which began in Beijing this week, may be smoothed by the reversal of a slowdown that started in last year’s first quarter. The September-October pickup in export growth shows the economy is starting to stabilize gradually, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said today at a briefing in Beijing.

“We are still cautious, but the robust export growth around 10 percent for two consecutive months might truly point to a real rebound,” said Lu Ting, chief Greater China economist at Bank of America Corp. in Hong Kong. The “elevated” trade surplus may mean the central bank will be reluctant to cut lenders’ reserve requirements, Lu said while maintaining his forecast for “at most” one 0.5 percentage-point reduction by year-end.

Growth Target

Industrial production, fixed-asset investment and retail sales accelerated in October, signaling that economic growth will exceed Premier Wen Jiabao’s 7.5 percent target for his last year in office.

At the same time, China’s trade outlook is grim for the coming months and will be difficult next year, Chen said.

China’s October import growth compared with the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey for a 3.4 percent gain and a 28.7 percent increase in October 2011. Inbound shipments in August recorded the first non-holiday drop since 2009. October’s trade surplus compared with the $27.3 billion median forecast in the survey and a $27.7 billion excess in September.

Falling global commodity prices are contributing to the slowdown in import growth, Chen said. Iron ore imports in the first 10 months rose 8.9 percent in volume while average prices slumped 20.8 percent, the report showed.

Today’s trade data add to signs global demand is recovering after overseas shipments from South Korea and Malaysia unexpectedly rose and Indonesia’s dropped less than estimated.