December trade data, import and export

Containers are docked at Yangshan Port in Shanghai, China, on August 6, 2019.

Aly Song | Reuters

BEIJING – China’s exports rose slightly more than expected in December, while imports rose less than expected, customs data showed on Friday.

In dollar terms, exports rose 20.9 percent year-on-year, above the 20 percent growth forecast in a Reuters poll.

In dollar terms, imports rose 19.5%, below expectations for a 26.3% increase.

“We expect China’s exports to remain strong in the first quarter due to strong global demand and worsening outbreaks in many developing countries,” Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, said in a note.

“Currently strong exports may be the only driver helping China’s economy. We expect infrastructure investment to be the second driver of the pick-up in the coming months,” he said.

The coronavirus outbreak in more cities added more downside risks to China’s economic outlook in the first quarter, Zhang said.

China is to release 2021 GDP, retail sales and other data on Monday.

This is a breaking news story. Please check for updates.