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China's December imports growth weakest in a year, exports beat forecast

Reuters  |  BEIJING 

(Reuters) - China's and growth slowed in December after unexpectedly surging in the previous month, adding to signs of ebbing economic growth as the extends a crackdown on financial risks and factory pollution.

December rose 10.9 percent from a year earlier, beating analysts' forecast of a 9.1 percent increase, but cooling from a robust 12.3 percent gain in November, official data showed on Friday.

grew an even slower pace of 4.5 percent year-on-year in December, the said, which was the weakest since they rose 3.1 percent in December 2016. missed analysts' forecast of 13.0 percent growth and were a sharp decrease from the 17.7 percent rise in the previous month.

That left the country with a surplus of $54 billion for the month, the highest since January 2016.

Economists had expected China's surplus to have narrowed to $37 billion in December from November's $40.21 billion.

and many trade-dependent countries have benefited from a year-long global boom that many economists expect will extend well into this year.

China's for the full year rose 7.9 percent, the fastest rate since 2013, while gained 15.9 percent, the best since 2011.

But weaker growth in December reinforced evidence of slowing momentum in the world's second-biggest economy, as the government's intensified war on pollution and a crackdown on debt risks weigh on activity.

"Although the data are often volatile, this latest decline (in import volumes) a sign that domestic demand may have weakened at the end of last year," Capital Economics Senior wrote in a note.

The data also showed China's goods surplus with the U. S., a sore spot in relations between the two nations, hit a record high last year.

China's 2017 surplus with the was $275.81 billion, topping the previous record in 2015 of $260.8 billion.

China's December surplus with the U. S. was $25.55 billion, compared to $27.87 billion in November.

China's excess production capacity has emerged as a major irritant for the world's leading economic powers, prompting them to consider new steps to protect domestic industries and jobs from a flood of Chinese

The is also considering several unilateral tariff actions on steel, aluminium and China's intellectual property practices likely to draw disputes from members.

(Reporting by and Elias Glenn; additional reporting by Lusha Zhang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 10:29 IST