The latest Chinese trade data showed that exports surged 12.7% year-over-year in November, up from 5.6% the previous month.
This is also beat expectations for a 7% rise. The slowdown in import growth and the surge in exports resulted in a trade surplus of $33.1 billion.
Exports got a nice boost from improving global economy. Export growth to the U.S. jumped 17.7% on the year in November, up from 8.1% the previous month. Exports to the EU surged 16.7%, compared with 12.7% in October. Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) climbed 16.7% in November, compared with 10.7% the previous month.
China's official PMI had also reflected stronger external demand, with the new export order component of the official PMI report climbing to 50.6, from 50.4 in October.
But it's also important to remember that trade data benefited from a weaker base since exports were up 2.8% on the year in November 2012, Societe Generale's Wei Yao points out.
But there's also some concern that hot money flows could be on the rise again. From Bank of America's Ting Lu:
"There is not hard data of massive hot money inflow yet, but the appreciating RMB/USD since mid-September and the recent rise of bond yields (as well as rising rates on money market funds and bank wealth management products) could lead to hot money inflows into China. A rebounding growth along with regained confidence of the Chinese economy could also convince people to bring money into China.
"Note exports data were greatly over-reported between end-2012 and April 2013. Also note today the PBoC today issued an edict to strengthen regulations on financing of international trade."
Here's a look at the trajectory of Chinese imports and exports that shows a pick up in exports:
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