The value of China's exports and imports rose in November from the previous month, latest official data showed, despite the ongoing turmoil in the country's key markets of Europe and the United States.
China's politically sensitive trade surplus -- a constant bugbear for major trade partners -- narrowed to $14.5 billion in November from $17 billion in October, China's customs office said.
The surprisingly strong data came amid growing concerns over weakness in the country's vast manufacturing sector, which employs hundreds of millions of people and is a major driver of the world's second largest economy.
China's exports rose 13.8 percent year on year to $174.46 billion in November, up from $157.49 billion in October, the customs agency said in a statement.
Imports expanded 22.1 percent to $159.94 billion in November, up from the $140.46 billion recorded a month earlier, the data showed.
The rise in China's imports and exports outstripped market expectations, Dow Jones newswires reported. Exports were expected to rise 19 percent and imports were expected to rise 10.4 percent, Dow Jones said.
The robust trade data are in contrast with other official figures released on Friday that showed China's economy lost steam in November.
Consumer prices rose at their weakest pace in more than a year and factory output growth hit its lowest level in more than two years, fuelling pressure on Beijing to further relax credit restrictions to prevent a hard landing.
Analysts have said the weaker-than-expected data will raise concerns that economic woes in Europe and the United States are hurting China's economy and likely embolden policymakers to further open credit valves to spur activity.
But the official Xinhua news agency said China's top leaders had decided at a meeting on Friday to maintain a "prudent monetary policy" in 2012, suggesting they will move cautiously to ease credit restrictions.