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China's exports in November rose at a much weaker-than-expected pace while imports remained unchanged compared with a year earlier, casting a shadow over the country's economic rebound, industrial production and retail sales figures suggested on Sunday.|
Export growth in November slowed sharply to 2.9 percent year-on-year, compared with an 11.6 percent surge in October, while imports were flat compared with a year earlier, according to data from the General Administration of Customs on Monday.
Toy pandas being made for export at a factory in Ganyu, Jiangsu province, on Monday. The General Administration of Customs said China's export growth in November slowed to 2.9 percent year-on-year, compared with an 11.6 percent surge in October. [Photo by Si Wei / For China Daily]
Foreign trade expanded by 1.5 percent year-on-year in November, showing a trade surplus of $19.63 billion.
Economists said November's weak export performance and flat import data showed the unsteadiness of the recovery of the world's second-largest economy, which may prompt the new leadership to put more emphasis on boosting domestic demand to ensure sustainable growth.
"The export slowdown was rooted in the uncertainties of external markets, including the debt-troubled European Union and the United States sliding toward a 'fiscal cliff'," said Wang Jun, an expert with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.
China's trade with the EU, the country's biggest trade partner, dropped by 4.1 percent year-on-year in the January-to-November period, compared with a 3 percent decline in the first 10 months.
Trade with the US, China's second-largest trade partner, rose by 8.2 percent in the same period, slower than the 9.1 percent increase in the first 10 months. The first 11 months saw China-Japan trade decelerate by 2.9 percent year-on-year from a 2.1 percent drop in the first 10 months.
China's foreign trade during the January-to-November period expanded by 5.8 percent from a year earlier as exports increased by 7.3 percent and imports by 4.1 percent, yielding a trade surplus of $199.54 billion, the customs said.
The whole year of 2012 will see China's trade grow by 6 or 7 percent while the trade surplus will be between $220 billion and $230 billion, Wang said.
The government has targeted growth of 10 percent for foreign trade this year, a figure that officials have admitted will be hard to achieve.
Chen Hufei, a researcher at Bank of Communications Co Ltd, agreed, saying that the trade surplus this year will "significantly expand compared from a year earlier, and renminbi appreciation will be further pressed in the short term".