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Chinese exports rise in January

Fastest increase since April 2011.

Exports in China grew strongly by 25 per cent in January 2013 compared to the same month a year ago, while imports grew by 28.8 per cent compared to a growth of 6 per cent in December.

Analysts caution that the rising figures came anhead of the Chinese New Year as companies tried to push their products as much as possible during the holiday season.

Inflation in the country slowed to 2 per cent in January 2013 compared to 2.5 per cent in December.

Zhu Haibin, an economist with JP Morgan, told the Financial Times: “So far what we have seen supports the view that China’s recovery is continuing. But it will be a modest recovery.”

Zhang Zhiwei, an economist with Nomura, told the Financial Times: “This strong export number cannot be fully explained by the Chinese New Year effect alone. These data suggest that external and domestic demand are both strong, which supports our view that the economy is on track for a cyclical recovery in the first half.”

China’s economy recovered mostly in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Raw material prices grew in recent months, while iron ore prices grew by 80 per cent since September.

The country’s trade surplus was $29.2bn in January compared to $31.6bn in December.

Inflation in China slowed to 2 per cent in January from 2.5 per cent in December. “The risk of high inflation will re-emerge in the second half of the year,” economists with ANZ said.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.8 per cent in trading on Friday.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.