The numbers may help to ease concerns of slowing momentum in Asia's economic powerhouse, which had surprised markets with robust growth of almost 6.9 percent in the nine months of this year, thanks to a government-led infrastructure spending spree and unexpected strength in exports.
In local currency terms, exports climbed 10.3% and imports advanced 15.6% in November. The surplus was forecast to fall to USD35.0 billion from about USD38.2 billion in October.
China's iron ore imports rose in November, though steel mills are cutting output as part of a government drive against pollution. According to calculations from Reuters, that was the second-highest monthly total on record.
China's unwrought copper imports rose by more than 40 percent in November from the previous month, in a sign that winter production restrictions at the world's top copper consuming country are driving up shipments of overseas metal.
Iron ore imports also lifted, jumping to 94.54 million tonnes from 79.49 million tonnes in October.
"Chinese trade looks to have been surprisingly strong last month".
Demand for Chinese products has proven robust as growth in major trade partners remains intact, and imports are stabilising as the economy has outperformed this year.
Julian Evans-Pritchard, an analyst with research firm Capital Economics, expects exports to remain strong in the coming months on the back of resilient global demand.
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