China's September exports rose a solid 14.5 per cent from a year earlier, well above expectations despite wider application of U.S. tariffs and signs of shrinking export orders for Chinese companies.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast shipments from the world's largest exporter would rise 8.9 per cent in September from a year earlier, slowing from 9.8 per cent in August.
Imports grew 14.3 per cent, slightly missing forecasts, customs data showed on Friday.
Analysts had expected imports to rise 15.0 per cent, compared with August's 19.9 per cent.
China posted a larger trade surplus of $31.69 billion for the month. Analysts had expected the surplus would shrink to $19.4 billion from $27.89 billion in August.
The world's largest trading nation got off to a strong start this year, but its economic outlook is being clouded by the escalating U.S. trade dispute and cooling domestic demand.
The United States and China imposed new tit-for-tat tariffs against each other's goods in late September, the latest escalation in a heated trade war between the world's two largest economies.
China's export data has been surprisingly resilient to tariffs, possibly as companies ramped up shipments before stiffer U.S. duties go into effect, but factory surveys have shown export orders have been shrinking for several months. (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
(With inputs from agencies.)