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BEIJING, Nov 10 AFP

November 10 2012, 1:55PM

China's export growth accelerated in October, its government says, adding to evidence the world's second-largest economy is bouncing back as the ruling Communist Party chooses new leaders.

Exports rose 11.6 per cent in October from a year earlier to $US175.6 billion ($A169.47 billion), the national customs bureau said on Saturday, stronger than the 9.9 per cent increase in September.

Imports, meanwhile, increased 2.4 per cent to $US143.6 billion ($A138.59 billion), matching September's gain.

The country's trade surplus, a source of friction with trading partners including the United States, widened to $US32 billion ($A30.88 billion) for the month, up from $US27.7 billion ($A26.73 billion) in September.

China's economic growth has slowed for seven straight quarters and hit a more than three-year low of 7.4 per cent in the three months through September, but recent data has fuelled optimism the worst may be over.

Industrial production for October rose 9.6 per cent on year from 9.2 per cent in September, the government said.

Retail sales, the main measure of consumer spending, also accelerated to a 14.5 per cent gain during the month.

Fixed-asset investment, a key gauge of infrastructure spending, also showed improvement in October, while inflation remained well under control, dipping to a nearly three-year low of 1.7 per cent in October.

The more robust data come as China's Communist Party is meeting to anoint new leaders for the next 10 years at its 18th congress that began on Thursday.

President Hu Jintao, who is expected to be replaced as party leader by Vice President Xi Jinping before the week-long meeting adjourns, told delegates Thursday that China should "promote balanced development of foreign trade".