China says October exports rise 11.6%, trade surplus widens

China's export growth accelerated in October, the government said Saturday, adding to evidence the world's second-largest economy is bouncing back as the ruling Communist Party chooses new leaders.

Exports rose 11.6 percent in October from a year earlier to $175.6 billion, the national customs bureau said, stronger than the 9.9 percent increase in September.

Imports, meanwhile, increased 2.4 percent to $143.6 billion, matching September's gain.

The country's trade surplus, a source of friction with trading partners including the United States, widened to $32 billion for the month, up from $27.7 billion in September.

China's economic growth has slowed for seven straight quarters and hit a more than three-year low of 7.4 percent in the three months through September, but recent data has fuelled optimism the worst may be over.

Industrial production for October rose 9.6 percent on year from 9.2 percent in September, the government said Friday. Retail sales, the main measure of consumer spending, also accelerated to a 14.5 percent gain during the month.

Fixed-asset investment, a key gauge of infrastructure spending, also showed improvement in October, while inflation remained well under control, dipping to a nearly three-year low of 1.7 percent in October.

The more robust data come as China's Communist Party is meeting to anoint new leaders for the next 10 years at its 18th congress that began Thursday

President Hu Jintao, who is expected to be replaced as party leader by Vice President Xi Jinping before the week-long meeting adjourns, told delegates Thursday that China should "promote balanced development of foreign trade."

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