China's economic rebound was evident as the first hard economic numbers of the year, released on Friday, showed a surge in exports and imports that was not solely explained by the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Exports grew 25 percent year-on-year in January versus a forecast of 17 percent in a Reuters poll, while imports surged 28.8 percent to comfortably beat a consensus call of 23.3 percent. January's trade surplus was $29.2 billion versus a market expectation of $22 billion.
(Read More: China Services Activity Highlights Modest Recovery)
"I think the Chinese New Year effect only explains part of the story," Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong, told Reuters. "After controlling for the Chinese New Year, the numbers are still very strong and shows the economic recovery is on track."
Global markets have been buoyed in part by expectations of a surge in China's export growth and an easing of inflation to 2.0 percent from December's seven-month high of 2.5 percent when January data are published.
Tao Wang, China economist at UBS in Hong Kong, said the growth in imports was key for investors trying to assess the strength of demand in the domestic economy.
"It seems to me that imports were particularly strong and that reflects two things: one is that the domestic demand, in particular investment demand, is very strong. The second thing is that it seems that companies are restocking ahead of the Chinese New Year and ahead of the peak season in March and April," she said.