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China trade surplus jumps in January

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Staff writer |
China trade surplusChina's trade surplus jumped to $31.9 billion in January, easing concerns the world's second-largest economy may be stuck in a slowdown. The figure was up 14% from a year earlier and stronger than forecasts for a 23.7 billion surplus.

Imports rose by 10% from a year earlier to 175.27 billion, led by record shipments of crude oil, iron ore and copper. Exports increased by 10.6% from a year earlier, far faster than analysts' forecasts, to 207.13 billion.

The positive trade figures also add to expectations China will overtake the US as the world's largest trading nation this year. China is the world's largest exporter, and analysts had been expecting the data to reflect effects of the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in January this year.

During this period, factories and offices on the mainland tend to shut for long periods for workers to mark China's biggest annual holiday. Investors have been watching economic releases out of China closely as its growth affects the health of export-oriented countries such as Singapore and Australia.

China is expected to post its slowest growth in over a decade this year, which is likely to have a knock-on effect across the region.

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