China's trade surplus hit a record $54.47 billion in November, soaring 61.4 percent on-year as imports to the world's second-largest economy surprisingly fell, the government said Monday.
Exports grew at a slower 4.7 percent year-on-year to $211.66 billion in November, while imports dropped 6.7 percent to $157.19 billion, the General Administration of Customs said, highlighting continued weaknesses in the world's number two economy.
The trade surplus beat August's previous record of $49.8 billion and was also better than the median forecast of $45.1 billion in a survey of 16 economists by Dow Jones Newswires.
But export growth slowed from the 11.6 percent year-on-year expansion in October, while the unexpected contraction in imports compared with growth of 4.6 percent that month.
Analysts had expected exports to grow 8.0 percent and imports to expand 3.9 percent.
The latest trade figures come as China is assailed by weakness in industrial and financial sectors, prompting the country's central bank last month to cut benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years.
China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew an annual 7.3 percent in the third quarter, the slowest since the height of the global financial crisis in early 2009.