China's exports grew by 46 per cent in February, its biggest rise in three years, signalling a revival in global demand following months of steep declines as a result of the financial crisis.

China's exports, down by 16 per cent last year on account of falling demand from the West, have now grown for three straight months, the country's General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Wednesday. While exports were up 46 per cent to $ 94.5 billion, imports also rose by 45 per cent, driven by rising oil demand on account of the government's continued stimulus spending on infrastructure projects.

Over the first two months of 2010, China's trade surplus has fallen by more than 50 per cent to $22 billion, the GAC said. Wednesday's data showed a revival in demand from the European Union and the United States, China's two biggest trade partners. Trade with the EU grew 35 per cent to $66 billion in the first two months of this year, while trade with U.S. was up 25 per cent to $49 billion. China's trade with India was up by 55 per cent to $9 billion, following a year which saw India's trade deficit with the country widen to a record $ 16 billion.

Trade between the two countries was down by 16 per cent last year from a record high of $52 billion in 2008, when China became India's largest trade partner. Indian exports to China, largely driven by iron ore, faced the brunt of the decline, down 32 per cent last year. But encouragingly for Indian exporters, China's imports from India were up 75 per cent in the first two months of this year, according to the GAC's figures. China's export revival is, however, likely to strengthen calls for Beijing to appreciate its yuan currency, which, some countries say, has been artificially kept low to support China's exporters. The yuan has been kept pegged at about 6.83 to the dollar since mid-2008. But Zhou Xiaochuan, the Governor of the People's Bank of China, said on Saturday the yuan would be kept “basically stable” in the coming year, and China would be “very cautious” about revaluing it.

More In: Business | Economy