China's trade surplus narrowed to $22.9 billion in November. That's down from October's $27.15 billion--the highest level in three months.
China's trade surplus had shrunk during the global financial crisis and recession due to weak international demand. But after briefly dipping into deficit in March--its first in six years--the trade balance has returned to surplus levels that have raised concerns about global imbalances and domestic inflation.
Friday's data are likely to heighten pressure on authorities to do more against inflation. Speculation has swirled of an imminent rate hike, while international pressure is growing for China to allow its currency to appreciate more quickly.
However, with economies in the West sputtering and China increasingly serving as the engine of global growth, any moves to slow the economy could reverberate around the world.
Friday's data showed November exports growing 34.9% on-year to $153.3 billion, far stronger than October's 22.9% rise and above the survey's median forecast of a 22.4% rise.
Imports rose 37.7% to $130.4 billion, up from October's 25.3% and above the median forecast of 24.5%, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, China's exports rose 5% on-month, while imports declined 3.5%, according to customs data.