China saw brisk growth in imports and exports last month, indicating fast post-pandemic recovery in domestic economic activity, data released on Tuesday showed.

The country’s imports increased by 13.2% in September from a year earlier, daily South China Morning Post reported.

The latest figure follows a 2.1% contraction in August and marks the first rise in imports since June.

Exports from China, where the first COVID-19 cases were reported last December, climbed for a fourth consecutive month, rising by 9.9% on an annual basis and up slightly from 9.5% in August.

Overall, China’s foreign trade grew by 0.7% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2020, with exports up by 1.8% and imports declining 0.6%, the country’s General Administration of Customs said.

Vehicle sales also jumped last month, with 2.08 million passenger vehicles sold, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers told state-run daily Global Times.

The figure marked an annual increase of 8%, while sales of new energy vehicles rose 67.7% year-on-year.

“China’s exports and imports have consistently beaten market expectations,” Wang Dan, chief economist with Hang Seng Bank China, told English-language state broadcaster CGTN.

The surge in imports, mostly in raw materials and other industrial inputs, “indicated strong momentum in domestic industrial production,” Wang said.

“The overall trade performance seems to suggest that China’s dual circulation strategy has withstood the test,” she added.

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