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China exports rise but doubts over growth linger on

China's foreign trade edged up in June, providing some hope for improvement in the world's second largest economy. The pace of recovery remains moderate, raising expectations of more government stimulus.

Year-on-year, Chinese exports rose 7.2 percent in June, according to fresh data released by the General Administration of Customs on Thursday. This was the best pace of growth in exports in five months, but the figure fell short of analysts' expectations. In a poll by news agency Reuters, they had forecast a rise of 10. 6 percent.

Imports for the month also missed estimates, growing by 5.5 percent after a small drop in May. In the first six month of 2014, overall Chinese trade edged up by a modest 1.2 percent, suggesting

a recovery

for the world's second largest economy is in progress, but not quite at the hoped-for pace.

"For the economy to rebound in the second half of this year, we believe more policy support is necessary due to the unsteady recovery base," Wang Jun of the Beijing-based economic think tank CCIEE told Reuters.

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On Monday, China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that further policy support was needed for the economy to reach

the government's annual growth target of 7.5 percent

. The Chinese economy saw growth slowing to an 18-month low of 7.4 percent in the first quarter. As a result, Beijing has steadily loosened monetary policy, and introduced what it called a

"mini stimulus"

to arrest a further slide in the pace of economic growth.

The customs office said in a statement that it was confident exports would pick up in the second half of 2014, boosted by rising global demand. It noted that shipments to the United States - China's biggest customer - reached 7.5 percent in June, up from 6.3 percent in May. Exports to the European Union gained even more, rising by 13.1 percent.

uhe/nz (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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