Updated from 12:20 a.m. EST

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks in China finished lower Wednesday after exports rose by 45.7% in February.

Imports rose by 44.7% last month, shrinking the country's trade surplus to $7.61 billion. The trade surplus is China's lowest in a year. In January, it was $14.2 billion.

The export growth topped forecasts by private sector analysts of 35% to 40% growth, the Associated Press reports.

Combining data from January and February, which analysts say produces a more accurate picture of trade conditions because China's Lunar New Year was celebrated then, shows exports rose 31.4% over the period, AP reports.

The stronger-than-expected export growth has some believing China will try to put further brakes on its economy as it has done over the past few months.

Stocks on Shanghai's benchmark index declined 0.7% to 3,048.03.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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