UPDATE 1-China trade recovery not confirmed by Sept data -MOFCOM

Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:19pm EDT

* Commerce Ministry says Sept trade data alone does not signal a trend

* China September exports rose 9.9 pct y/y vs 5.0 pct forecast

* China September imports rose 2.4 pct y/y vs fall of 2.6 pct in August (Adds quotes, context)

BEIJING, Oct 19 (Reuters) - China's September trade data, which showed a surge in exports at twice the rate expected and a return to import growth, are not yet enough to confirm that a recovery is in place for the external sector, the Commerce Ministry said on Friday.

"We are happy to see that the September trade data has shown some positive changes. But with only a single month's figure, it is still not enough to judge a trend of recovery due to the complicated external economic environment," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told a news conference.

Data earlier this month showed China's exports rose 9.9 percent year-on-year in September versus expectations of a 5.0 percent gain and an annual rise of just 2.7 percent in August.

Imports meanwhile grew by 2.4 percent on the year in September, versus a fall of 2.6 percent in August. The recovery was in line with forecasts in the benchmark Reuters poll.

"We will continue to implement measures to stabilise trade growth and try to maintain the our market share in the global trade," Shen said.

China rolled out an array of measures last month to help stabilise export growth, speeding payments of export tax rebates, easing access to bank loans and cutting fees.

China has an official target of 10 percent growth in both exports and imports for 2012. But some trade officials have cast doubt about the ability to achieve it given the uncertainties hanging over external demand.

Shen added that retail sales were likely to continue to accelerate in coming months.

Data on Thursday showed September retail sales rose 14.2 percent on the previous year, ahead of forecasts of a 13.2 percent gain.

Rising consumer spending is a sign that China's domestic economy is holding up despite difficulties faced by exporters, who face faltering demand in their main overseas markets of the European Union and the United States. (Reporting by Aileen Wang and Nick Edwards; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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