The Chinese trade surplus increased to 28.5bn dollars in August, up from 17.8bn dollars the month before.
Exports accelerated to a 7.2% year-on-year pace in August from 5.1% in July [Consensus: 5.5%].
If adjusted for the over-invoicing which took place in the second half of 2012, then estimated export volume growth would have been shown to have picked up to 12.5% year-on-year in August, versus a reading of 9.5% without (July: 7.6%), economists at UBS explain.
Import growth, on the other hand, slowed to 7.0% year-on-year from 10.9% [Consensus: 11.3%], mainly due to the drag from imports for processing trade, while imports for domestic consumption held up, reflecting a recovery in domestic demand.
The divergence between stronger processing exports and weaker processing imports may reflect a temporary adjustment in inventory behaviours by processing exporters, probably due to the uncertain export outlook, UBS added.
Growth in sales to G3 economies was stable, while export growth to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Hong Kong surged, economists at Nomura pointed out.
The positive trade numbers follow recent signs of greater manufacturing activity and improvement from overseas sales and factory output in July. It is thought that China's economy is benefiting from a pick-up in demand from the US and other markets despite rising wages and a stronger yuan.
The Japanese broker now sees moderate upside risks to its third quarter gross domestic product [GDP] growth forecast of 7.4% but will wait until the release of activity indicators - due out tomorrow - before reviewing its forecasts for 2013.
Stronger economic data is suggesting that the Chinese government will meet its full-year economic growth target of 7.5%, after reducing it from 8% earlier this year, some believe.
Nevertheless, Nomura is somewhat more cautious, saying: "We remain doubtful of the sustainability of the recovery, since money market and bond rates have been on an upward trend, which should adversely affect investment."
China to stay the course
Writing in Monday's Financial Times Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says that his country will stay the course on sustainable growth, by continuing to promote reforms, with an aim on meeting its 7.5% lower bound for GDP growth this year.
Interestingly, he believes Asian countries have enhanced their capabilities to fend off risks [from short-term capital flows] and - interestingly perhaps - talks of the ebb and flow "natural economics" as one of the reasons behind the moderation in the country's growth trend from the double-digit figures of the past.
He also references expectations that 100m rural residents will be absorbed into cities over the coming decade, something he describes as an extremely complex process.
CPI data as expected
In other data released early Monday, inflation remained subdued last month with the Chinese consumer price index falling by one tenth of a percentage point to 2.6% year-on-year from 2.7% in July [Consensus: 2.6%].
The lower inflation reading may leave the Chinese government greater leeway to take measures to stimulate the economy should it consider it necessary.
Last month, authorities in Beijing suspended the value-added tax and turnover tax for small businesses and said it would simplify customs clearance procedures.