Exports from China rose more than expected in February, while the Lunar New Year explains 15% slip in imports.
Goods shipped from China were up 21.8% from a year earlier, boosted by strong demand from the US and South East Asia. Analysts had generally forecast a 15% rise.
Exports have taken a hit recently by a slowdown in China’s key markets.
The Chinese are celebrating the Lunar New Year, a time of feasting during which businesses close for four days, and analysts said the data may be skewed to reflect this. But, according to a report on the BBC, they added that the trend indicated a recovery.
Imports fell heavily, by 15.2% from a year earlier, suggesting the recovery was not being felt by all consumers. Analysts attributed the fall to the Lunar New Year.
In 2012, the national holiday was celebrated in January, while this year it was held in February meaning that factories operated for fewer days in February this year.
“Since the factories worked for a [lower] number of days, they imported far less raw materials than they would normally have done,” Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist with Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, told the BBC.
Mr Kowalczyk said you have to combine the data for January and February to see the real picture. The combined data for the two months indicated a jump of 5.1% in imports from a year earlier.