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According to official data, China's trade surplus narrowed to $49.61 billion in December from $54.47bn in November, missing expectations for a surplus of $49.85.
China's exports increased 9.7% in December from a year earlier, while imports declined 2.4% from a year earlier.
Exports were driven by stronger demand from the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia.
On the import side, the country has benefited from lower global energy and commodity prices.
For the full year 2014, China reported a trade surplus of $382.46 billion, compared with a surplus of $259.75 billion in 2013. Exports increased at annual rate of 6.1% in 2014, down from a rise of 7.9% in 2013. Imports rose 0.4%, down from an increase of 7.3% in 2013.
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