China exports, imports pick up pace

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BEIJING: China’s exports and imports surged in September, officials data showed Friday, providing President Xi Jinping a boost as he prepares to accept a second term as Communist Party chief this month.

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Customs figures showed exports grew 8.1 percent and imports expanded 18.7 percent in September.

That compares with a 5.5 percent rise in exports and a 13.3 percent jump in imports seen the month before.

However, while the imports reading beat forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, exports fell slightly short.

The September trade surplus reached $28.5 billion, compared to $47 billion in August.

“Today’s figures suggest that not only has strong foreign demand continued to prop up manufacturing activity in China but domestic demand remains resilient too,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist at Capital Economics wrote in a note.

But Evans-Pritchard said the figures were skewed because there were more working days last month compared with last year’s period, as the nearly week-long Mid-Autumn Festival holiday was held in September 2016.

It was the latest positive economic news for China after the International Monetary Fund’s released a report this week raising the country’s growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018 to 6.8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

However, analysts have repeatedly warned that China’s growing debt mountain still poses risks to its economy.

Xi is expected to secure a second five-year term as general secretary of the Communist Party during its twice-a-decade congress, which opens on Wednesday.

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