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China industrial output growth slowest in 17 years

17 March 2019
China industrial output growth slowest in 17 years

Industrial output rose 5.3 percent in January-February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, less than expected and the slowest pace since early 2002.

On the whole, it logged the 46th straight month of price increases.

"The growth trend of the modern service industry is relatively good", Mao said, adding that information transmission, software and information technology industries maintained a high growth rate of 26.5 percent. China's exports to all of its major markets fell across the board last month. Infrastructure spending ticked up 4.3% in January and February, from 3.8% the same time past year.

But the cooling trend in sales suggests that such a rebound will be hard to maintain while the real estate market still faces relatively significant downward pressure, Southwest Securities' Yang added.

"The data suggests some cities resorted to price-cutting to promote sales under the pressure of meeting sales targets amid a traditionally off-season for the market", said Yan Yuejin, director of the E-house China Research and Development Institution.

But Yan said some markets have showed signs of a rebound in February.

China's retail sales of consumer goods held steady in the first two months of the year, with strong growth in online sales and the catering sector, official data showed Thursday. The unemployment rise comes as the growth of industrial production fell to its lowest rate in a decade of 5.3% in January, and down from 5.7% growth in December.

With a market of almost 1.4 billion increasingly prosperous population, China strives to make consumption a major driver of its economic growth.

Benchmark rebar prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed 10 percent in the past two months and hit a peak of 3,908 yuan ($582.82) a tonne on February 11, the highest level since late August.

Some analysts say the extra liquidity will inevitably flow into the highly speculative property market. The latest data showed growth in retail sales for January-February remained flat from December, rising 8.2 percent on-year and slightly above forecasts from economists polled by Bloomberg News.

Some smaller cities have also quietly loosened curbs to prop up sentiment and demand, and Beijing appears to be showing a bigger tolerance as it emphasises on a "city-based" approach that gives local governments more autonomy in policymaking.