China's Exports Surge 17% in December

Exports hit $130.7 billion during the month as global trade perked up

Cementing China's new status as the world's biggest exporter, it's exports increased 17.7% in December to snap a 13-month falling streak.

Exports hit $130.7 billion during the month as global trade perked up, bringing China's full-year export figure to $1.20 trillion, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs.

Overall foreign trade -- both exports and imports -- fell 13.9% in 2009 to $2.21 trillion, as monthly exports fell sharply on a year-on-year basis in each of the first 10 months of the year. But that changed in November, when exports slipped just 1.2%, the slowest decline of the year.

Imports for December set a new monthly record of $112 billion, a rise of 55% year-on-year, while full-year imports came in at $1.005 trillion.

The December import record was fueled in part by a 41% increase in iron ore imports, as China devoured foreign resources to fuel its economic boom.

The nation's trade surplus hit $18.4 billion for the month of December, while the full-year surplus posted a rare fall to $196 billion.

The 2009 trade surplus was down 34.2% from 2008.

With China's trade data for all of 2009 now out, the nation's crowning as the 2009 export champion is expected to be confirmed when Germany releases full-year trade figures on February 9.

From January to November, Chinese exports were worth $1.07 trillion. Data from the German national statistics office on Jan. 8 showed that exports from the European heavyweight came to $1.05 trillion in the 11 months.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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