Business

China trade data in surprise sign of strength

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Media caption"The Chinese economy is stabilising and we are expecting it to pick up in the second half of this year," Pu Yonghao, UBS Wealth management

China's export growth has increased while inflation has slowed, in a sign of strength in the world's second-biggest economy.

In May, exports jumped 15.3% from a year earlier, beating expectations. In April they were up by 4.9%.

However, industrial production and retail sales data continued to disappoint.

Analysts said while the trade data was a positive, Chinese authorities would continue measures to stimulate growth.

"The domestic economy is slowing quite substantially," said Alistair Thornton from IHS Global Insight in Beijing.

"That will feed through into imports over the next few months, so this is likely to be a bit of an aberration rather than a new normal".

'Extremely concerned'

He warned against reading too much into the monthly trade data, especially since other figures painted a much bleaker picture of the domestic economy.

Industrial output rose 9.6% in May from a year ago, which was below expectation.

Image caption Data released over the weekend was mixed with manufacturing related numbers showing a slowdown

Retail sales also came in below estimates, growing at their slowest pace since February 2011.

China's central bank cut interest rates on Thursday for the first time in more than three years in an effort to boost growth on worries of a slowdown.

"We had some pretty dismal data out yesterday, and it came off the back of an interest rate cut which really signals that policymakers are extremely concerned about the state of the economy," Mr Thornton said.

Consumer inflation in May slowed to 3%, the statistics bureau said. That is well below the government target of 4% for 2012.

Analysts said this would give policymakers room to further ease policy and spur growth.

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