Beijing: China's foreign trade could still face a challenging situation in 2013 despite a better performance in January as overseas demand remained sluggish, Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Wednesday.
January data showed that foreign trade has further stabilised thanks to a range of pro-growth measures, although the stabilisation does not necessarily signify a sharp increase or a rebound due to more working days, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang told a press conference.
According to official data, China's foreign trade surged 26.7 percent year-on-year to 2.17 trillion yuan (USD 345.5 billion) in January. The rise was bigger than the 10.2 percent growth seen in December.
Exports and imports rose 25 percent and 28.8 percent from a year earlier, respectively.
There were 22 working days in January, five days more than last year, when the seven-day Spring Festival holiday fell during the first month of the year.
After adjusting for seasonal factors, foreign trade went up 8.1 percent year-on-year in January.
Furthermore, on a monthly basis, January's trade volume dropped 5.8 percent from December, even with one more working day, according to customs data.
Shen said the January data is in line with expectations.
Due to the Spring Festival holiday, the year-on-year increase in China's foreign trade might narrow in February, especially compared with the near 30 percent growth seen in February last year, Shen said.
In response to reports that China has overtaken the US as the world's biggest trader, Shen reiterated that China's total foreign trade fell USD 15.64 billion short in comparison with the United States according to measurements adopted by the WTO.
The WTO will release its official global foreign trade rankings around late February or early March, the ministry added.