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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's exports and imports unexpectedly accelerated last month after slowing in October, an encouraging sign for the world's second-biggest economy which has started to slow in the face of a government crackdown on debt risks and factory pollution.
November exports jumped 12.3 percent from a year earlier, beating analysts' forecast of a 5.0 percent increase, and compared to 6.9 percent growth in October, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.
The rebound boosted export growth to the fastest pace since March.
Imports grew 17.7 percent year-on-year in November, also well above expectations of 11.3 percent growth and rising at the fastest pace since September.
The numbers may help to ease concerns of slowing momentum in Asia's economic powerhouse, which had surprised markets with robust growth of nearly 6.9 percent in the nine months of this year, thanks to a government-led infrastructure spending spree and unexpected strength in exports.
Tighter rules to rein in risks from a rapid build-up in debt and cut pollution have weighed on overall activity since the third quarter.
Some of China's northern provinces have ordered factories to throttle back or halt output to reduce notoriously thick winter smog, which will likely discourage demand for raw materials shipments such as iron ore.
Steel exports rose from the previous month to 5.35 million tonnes in November, data showed.
Besides ramped-up efforts to reduce winter pollution, authorities unveiled fresh regulatory measures last month for the financial sector, clamping down on high-risk lending and halting some dubious infrastructure projects that would swell local governments' debt.
The rebound in imports come as China's yuan has fallen 2.8 percent against the dollar since hitting its 2017 peak on Sept. 8.
The latest data showed the country posted a trade surplus of $40.21 billion for the month versus expectations for $35 billion in November after October's $38.185 billion.
(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Elias Glenn; additional reporting by Winni Zhou in Shanghai; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)