China's exports grow for first time in 6 months, imports unexpectedly shrink


BEIJING: China's exports grew for the first time in six months in November, customs data showed on Thursday, suggesting the manufacturing sector may be beginning to benefit from an uptick in global trade flows.

China's exports increased by 0.5% in November from a year earlier, compared with a 6.4% fall in October and beating the 1.1% drop expected in a Reuters poll. Imports fell 0.6%, following a 3.0% increase in October.

Mixed manufacturing data for November has kept alive calls for further policy support to shore up growth but also raised questions about whether predominantly negative sentiment-based surveys have masked improvements in conditions.

The Baltic Dry Index, a bellwether gauge of global trade, climbed to a three year high in November, supported by improved demand for industrial commodities, particularly from China.

South Korean exports, another gauge of the health of global trade, rose for a second month in November, buoyed by chip exports, which snapped 15 months of declines.

Analysts say it is too early to tell whether the recent policy support will be enough to shore up domestic demand, with property, unemployment and weak household and business confidence threatening a sustainable rebound.

The manufacturing sector is also running at different speeds across different industries, analysts caution.

The International Monetary Fund in November upgraded its China growth forecasts for 2023 and 2024 by 0.4% percentage points each. But Moody's on Tuesday slapped a downgrade warning on China's A1 credit rating. - Reuters

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