Qingdao Port China
China's trade surplus at record high on soaring exportsReuters

China's trade surplus rose to a new record high in February with exports rebounding sharply and imports declining at a faster pace.

As per data from China's General Administration of Customs, the trade surplus of the world's second largest economy widened to $60.60bn from $60.03bn in January.

Earlier, the commerce minister lowered the government's foreign trade target for 2015 to 6% from 7.5% set for last year.

Chinese exports rallied 48.3% from a year earlier in February after falling 3.3% in January as companies rushed to get orders processed before the Chinese New Year, according to an official release.

At the same time, imports plummeted 20.1% after registering a 19.7% fall in January.

The market consensus for exports growth was just 14.2% and that for imports deceleration 10%.

Sales increased the most for mineral fertilisers, which were up 88.4% followed by an 86.3% jump in ceramic products and a 66.7% rise in unwrought aluminium. Rice exports were up 61.3% and toys 32.7%.

Though widening surplus is a positive, the decline in imports was another sign of continued weakness in the country, analysts said.

Falling global demand and declining commodity prices affected China's trade badly in 2014 with imports and exports rising only 2.3%.

The market is now waiting for the consumer price inflation data due on 10 March. The year-on-year price rise rate had fallen to a five-year low of 0.8% in January, forcing the central bank to cut rates.

The People's Bank of China slashed the benchmark one-year lending rate by 25 basis points to 5.35% on 28 February and the one-year deposit rate by the same margin to 2.5%.