A srtong rebound in China's exports and imports continued in January with fresh signs of recovery in global and domestic markets.
However, analysts said escalating trade disputes may pose a threat to the overall recovery.
China's exports jumped 21 percent from a year earlier to USD109.4 billion last month, further improving from a rise of 17.7 percent in December, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday.
Imports proved a surprise, surging 85.5 percent year on year to USD95.3 billion in January, up from a climb of 55.9 percent the previous month.
As a result, the trade surplus narrowed to US.1 billion from USD18.4 billion in December.
"The upbeat performance ofChina's trade is largely in line with our expectations, and mirrors renewed vigor in the global economy," said Li Maoyu, an analyst at Changjiang Securities Co.
"The strong growth in imports is also a harbinger for future gains in exports as many businesses have increased their purchases of raw materials for production."
Sun Mingchun, an economist at Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd, said the strength in exports was broadly based and had shown a tendency of being driven more by high value-added goods like high-tech products (USD30.8 billion in exports) and electromechanical products (USD62.5 billion).
While commenting on imports, he said China's booming domestic demand was an important component to power its growth.
"China is having not only a public investment boom, but also a consumption boom," Sun said.
China's import figure in January this year even defied a traditional fall at the start of the year due to the Christmas season and the coming Spring Festival, the nation's most important holiday for family reunions.
And the good news just keeps on coming, with China officially confirmed as the world's largest exporter last year.
Former leader Germany's national statistics authority, Destatis, announced on Tuesday that the country's exports totalled US.12 trillion in 2009, short of China's USD1.2 trillion during the same period.
However, analysts said China should be vigilant about the growing frictions with its major trading partners like the European Union and the United States to secure its hard-earned recovery in exports, which just ended a 14-month losing streak in December.
"Although the value of products involved in trade disputes is relatively small compared with the overall trade, their impact is huge because it can shake people's confidence and lead to fears of a trade war," said Xue Jun, an analyst at the CITIC Securities Co.
China has become a target of dumping and subsidizing charges by countries more deeply hurt by the global financial crisis since the later half of last year.
In January, the US set preliminary anti-dumping duties on China-made electric blankets, wire decking and gift-wrapping ribbons, adding to a tariff list already covering tires and steel pipes from China.
The EU also made a decision in December to extend trade charges on Chinese and Vietnamese leather shoes by 15 months to protect European shoe makers, which was lambasted by China as "pure protectionism."
The continuing rebound in Chinese exports may also trigger calls for appreciation of the yuan again, said Alaistair Chan, a senior economist at Moody's Economy.com.
Editor: Canton Fair