Global financial markets climbed higher on Friday after Chinese trade and lending data for January smashed expectations, supporting the view that the world’s second-largest economy is recovering.
Government figures showed exports and imports surged in January from a year earlier, while new lending by Chinese banks soared, Reuters reported.
The one-month data was distorted by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, which fall in February this year but took place in January in 2012.
Even so, economists believe the festivities alone can't fully explain the figures' strength.
“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, Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong, said in a research note cited by the New York Times.
According to MarketWatch, exports grew 25 percent from a year ago, while imports expanded by 28.8 percent.
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a 17.7 percent increase in exports and a 21.4 percent jump in imports, MarketWatch said.
Yuan-denominated bank loans in January more than doubled from December to 1.07 trillion yuan, highlighting the strong demand for credit in the recovering economy, but also fueling fears about inflation, the Wall Street Journal reported.