China exports exceed estimates
China's exports rose at the fastest pace in five months in October, adding to signs of a rebound in the world's secondbiggest economy after industrial output and retail sales exceeded forecasts.
Overseas shipments increased 11.6 percent from a year earlier, the Beijing-based customs administration said in a statement yesterday. That compared with the 10 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists and 9.9 percent in September. Imports rose 2.4 percent, the same pace as the previous month. The trade surplus widened to $32 billion, the biggest in almost four years.
China's transition to a new generation of Communist Party leaders, which began in Beijing last 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, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said yesterday 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 percentagepoint reduction by year-end. Industrial production, fixedasset investment and retail sales accelerated in October, government reports showed on Nov. 9, signaling that economic growth will exceed Premier Wen Jiabao's 7.5 percent target for his last year in office. China is confident it will achieve expansion this year of at least 7.5 percent, Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a separate briefing yesterday during the congress.
At the same time, the trade outlook is grim for the coming months and will be difficult next year, Chen said. Zhang said China needs to prepare for prolonged challenges including the debt turmoil in some countries and sluggish global growth while solving domestic issues such as overcapacity.
China's October import growth trailed the median economist estimate of 3.4 percent in a Bloomberg survey and compared with 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 and a $27.7 billion excess in September. Falling global commodity prices are contributing to the slowdown in import growth, Chen said.