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Customs authority hits back at skepticism over December trade data

(Global Times)

10:35, January 16, 2013

China's officially published trade statistics are well grounded, the country's customs authority vowed Tuesday in response to skepticism the Global Times reported Monday over surging growth seen in December trade data.

"(China's) customs statistics on exports and imports are based upon enterprises' actual customs declarations, which means only exports and imports declared at customs would be included in the customs statistics," the General Administration of Customs said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Tuesday.

"Every dollar of export and import data we have published is derived from a genuine customs declaration," stressed the statement, coming on the heels of a recent wave of skepticism among a number of foreign financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, who suspect that December's unexpectedly strong growth in both exports and imports may have been inflated by the Chinese government.

China's trade data, especially on exports, has long drawn keen attention from global market watchers, despite the country's pledge to rely less on trade growth as a key engine for economic growth. But wide skepticism over the reliability of trade data is uncommon.

Liu Ligang, Hong Kong-based chief China economist at the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), was among the doubters, and said in a research note Monday that the robust trade data was "inconsistent with the PMI new export orders sub-index and the port throughput data," which indicated lackluster trade situations.

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