But December 2018 Chinese export figures show 4.4% decline

January trade data exceeded expectations as Chinese exports increased, though growth was attributed to the distorting effects of Chinese New Year and not the start of an upward trend.

Exports grew 9.1 per cent year-on-year in January in dollar terms, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, compared with a market average forecast of -3.2 per cent. The month before exports declined 4.4 per cent as trade war effects took root.

Chinese total trade surplus $ 32.9 billion in January

Imports also outperformed, falling 1.5 per cent compared with a year earlier. Though reflecting persistently low consumption and investment, this was nevertheless a smaller decline than in December. The total trade surplus for January was $32.9 billion.

The fact that the seven-day Chinese New Year holiday falls at a different time in January or February each year makes it difficult to compare trade data during these two months.