China's exports growth lost steam in November, pressured by a strong yuan, weakening demand and higher costs, but imports accelerated and came in well above expectations as the country scrambled to restock key commodities like coal.
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Exports rose 22per cent on-the-year and imports jumped 31.7per cent in November, customs data showed on Tuesday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast November exports would increase 19.0per cent after jumping 27.1per cent the previous month.
Imports were forecast to have risen 19.8per cent, according to the poll, versus a 20.6per cent gain in October.
China's coal imports in November hit their highest level in 2021, as the world's biggest consumer of the dirty fuel scrambled during the onset of winter to feed its power system, which had been experiencing shortages.
The easing of the power crunch also helped increase demand for copper. Imports of the key industrial metal hit their highest levels since March.
Higher imports were likely more driven by the scramble for coal and restocking of iron ore and crude oil than a broader uplift in domestic demand, said Ting Lu, Chief China Economist at Nomura.