BEIJING – China's trade grew more strongly than expected in September, possibly easing fears of a deeper slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.
Exports totaled 1.315 trillion yuan ($214 billion), up 15.3 percent from the same month last year, while imports of 1.125 trillion ($183 billion) were up 6.9 percent. Exports had grown 9.4 percent in August while imports had shrunk for two months running.
China's communist leaders hope export growth will help support employment while trying to nurture growth based on domestic consumption.
Beijing rolled out limited stimulus measures earlier this year after economic growth in the first three months sagged to 7.4 percent, the lowest in nearly two years. Growth improved only slightly to 7.5 percent in the second quarter.
September's trade also improved on a sequential month basis, with exports up 2.6 percent and imports rising 15.2 percent from August.
Economist Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said the strong import growth likely reflected a temporary increase in demand for overseas components to be processed and re-exported, rather than increased domestic consumption.
Commodity demand remains depressed by oversupply in the property market and will likely drag on import growth for some time, he said.
Exports, however, will likely continue to boom as the global economy maintains its steady improvement, Evans-Pritchard said in a report.
"Looking ahead, we expect exports to remain healthy as global growth continues to recover, largely on the back of improving conditions in the U.S.," he said.
China's trade surplus was $30.9 billion in September, down from a historical high of $49.8 billion in August.