China's international trade performance fell during December 2015, albeit at a less pronounced rate than had been expected.
The Asian superpower's exports fell 1.4 per cent year over year, while imports declined by 7.6 per cent in the same period. Economists surveyed by Reuters had anticipated these figures to fall by eight and 11.5 per cent respectively.
This resulted in a $60.09 billion (£42.02 billion) trade surplus for December, which again was up compared with economists' prediction of a $53 billion surplus, as well as being ahead of November's $54.1 billion.
Despite this, the country's economy still experienced its weakest annual growth in 25 years, following a sixth straight month of falling exports, with the full-year figure down 2.8 per cent compared to 2015.
It was also noted that many companies have to fulfill their contracts by the end of the year and increase the amount they export in December accordingly, meaning this better-than-expected result may have been an anomaly.
Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping said: "In previous years we've seen exports improve in December. The situation in the first quarter will still be relatively severe."