(Xinhua file photo)
BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Boosted by strong domestic and external demand, China's foreign trade saw robust growth in November with both imports and exports beating expectations.
Exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 10.3 percent year on year to 1.43 trillion yuan (about 216 billion U.S. dollars), data from the General Administration of Customs showed Friday.
Imports expanded 15.6 percent to 1.17 trillion yuan, leaving a trade surplus of 263.6 billion yuan.
In November, total foreign trade volume rose 12.6 percent year on year to 2.6 trillion yuan.
In the first 11 months, foreign trade volume rose 15.6 percent from a year earlier to 25.14 trillion yuan.
The export data was well above forecast, and was mainly a result of increased overseas consumption as the holidays draw near, according to Deng Haiqing, an analyst with JZ Securities.
Imports also beat market expectations, lifted partly by higher prices of crude oil and natural gas, according to Deng.
The data came in line with the official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) released earlier, which showed that a sub-index for new export orders edged up to 50.8 in November from 50.1 in October.
With both the official PMI and trade number exceeding market forecasts, the November industrial output data, which is due next week, will also likely rise by more than expected, Deng said.
Friday's data reflected an improved trade structure. In the first 11 months, general trade expanded 18.1 percent year on year to 14.18 trillion yuan, accounting for 56.4 percent of total trade volume.
Trade of private enterprises grew 16.9 percent to 9.68 trillion yuan in the first 11 months, accounting for 38.5 percent of the total, and 0.4 percentage points higher than the same period last year.
Despite rising protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment, China's imports and exports with major trade partners remained strong.
During the first 11 months, trade with the European Union gained 16.2 percent year on year to 3.78 trillion yuan, accounting for 15 percent of the total. Trade with the United States expanded 16.5 percent to 3.58 trillion yuan, accounting for 14.2 percent of the total.
China's stock market soared on the robust data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.55 percent to close at 3,289.99 points, ending a losing streak this week.
Looking forward, analysts expect lower tariffs for consumer goods may promote imports.
Starting December, tariffs on 187 types of consumer goods will be reduced from 17.3 percent to an average of 7.7 percent. Import taxes on coffee makers, smart toilet seat covers and electric toothbrushes will be cut by two-thirds, and that on mineral water and oral cleaning kits will be halved, according to the Ministry of Finance.
"We expect China to become the world's largest importer within five years, and the proportion of consumer goods imports to rise," investment firm China International Capital Corporation said in a research note.
While trade data could be volatile from month to month, data in the last three months has shown continued strength in exports, indicating sustained recovery in external demand that has helped support China's industrial production in the fourth quarter, according to China Merchants Securities.
Customs data also showed that a leading indicator for China's exports rebounded from 41.6 to 41.8 month on month in November, signalling positive potential in exports.