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Chinese exports, imports rise unexpectedly

China's exports increased by a higher-than-expected 0.9 percent in April, compared to last year. Imports also rose by 0.8 percent. The rise follows large drops in March and February.

Overseas shipments from China rose by 0.9 percent year-on-year, to $188.5 billion (135.6 billion euros), official data showed Thursday. Analysts had expected a decline.

Imports were also up 0.8 percent compared with April 2013. The trade surplus now stands at $18.46 billion.

After two months of sharp falls in exports from the world's second biggest economy, the April data show that Beijing's use of targeted policy measures to underpin growth may be starting to stabilize the economy.

Economic growth in China has weakened in the last two years, GDP growth stood at 7.4 percent in the first three months of 2014, which was even weaker than the 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

For 2014, economists are expecting 7.3-percent growth, according to Reuters news agency. It would be the slowest growth rate in 24 years.

After years of expansion, the Chinese government is trying to modernize the economy and reduce its dependence on exports by strengthening domestic demand. Slower growth is the price it is prepared to pay as long as unemployment does not rise sharply, which could lead to unrest among the populace.

ng/hg (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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