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China's foreign trade jumps 44% in Jan, trade surplus shrinks by half

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BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign trade surged 44 percent year on year in January boosted by busy shipments ahead of the nation's traditional Spring Festival, while trade surplus shrank by half, the customs agency said on Monday.

Exports rose by 37.7 percent year on year to 150.73 billion U.S. dollars while imports increased by 51 percent to 144.28 billion U.S. dollars, the General Administration of Customs said on its website.

Foreign trade totaled 295.01 billion U.S. dollars.

The trade surplus shrank 53.5 percent year on year to 6.45 billion U.S. dollars in January, much less than the market expected.

Chinese New Year fell on Feb. 3 this year, while last year it fell on Feb. 14. Exports and imports were pushed up in January as a result.

Exporters and importers frontloaded their trading activities in January this year, said Lu Ting, an economist with the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Because of this both export and import growth will probably slump in February, he said.

According to an analyst with Anbound, a Beijing-based investment consultancy, exports are unlikely to plunge in the short-run, as developing economies were showing more signs of recovery.

The European Union remained China's largest trade partner in 2010, with EU-China trade up 30.5 percent year on year to 45.97 billion U.S. dollars.

Trade with the United States rose 39.2 percent year on year to 36.87 billion U.S. dollars while China-Japan trade jumped 42 percent year on year to 27.84 billion U.S. dollars.

Trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) surged 34.5 percent to 28.89 billion U.S.dollars. The trade deficit with the ASEAN nations increased 4.4 fold to 2.17 billion U.S. dollars.

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