China says January trade surplus up 7.7% to $29.2 bn

China's trade surplus rose 7.7 percent year-on-year to $29.2 billion in January, official data showed Friday, as the country maintained its economic recovery on improving demand.

Exports from the world's second-largest economy jumped a solid 25.0 percent to $187.4 billion last month, while imports soared 28.8 percent to $158.2 billion, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement.

But it noted that there were more working days last month than in January 2012, due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, potentially inflating the figures.

After taking out factors linked to the New Year, exports grew 12.4 percent last month year-on-year while imports increased 3.4 percent, it added.

But Zhang Zhiwei, a Hong Kong-based economist with Nomura International, argued there was a broader base for the strong export performance in January than seasonal factors.

"These data suggest that external and domestic demand are both strong, which supports our view that the economy is on track for a cyclical recovery in the first half (of this year)," he said in a research note.