BEIJING (REUTERS) – China’s factory output growth slowed in April from the jump seen in the previous month while retail sales missed analyst expectations, indicating more pressure on the recovery in consumption.
Industrial production grew 9.8 per cent in April from a year ago, slower than the 14.1 per cent surge in March, National Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday (May 17), but matching a consensus forecast by analysts from a Reuters poll.
China’s economy showed steady improvement in April but new problems are emerging, the NBS said in a statement alongside the data.
Retail sales rose 17.7 per cent year on year in April, much weaker than a 24.9 per cent uptick expected by analysts and down from the jump of 34.2 per cent seen in March.
Fixed asset investment increased 19.9 per cent in the first four months from the same period a year earlier, versus a forecast 19.0 per cent rise, slowing from January-March’s 25.6 per cent increase.
Private-sector fixed-asset investment, which makes up around 60 per cent of total investment, rose 21.0 per cent in January-April, compared with a 26.0 per cent jump for the first three months.
A top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party said last month the country will encourage manufacturing and private investment to recover as quickly as possible.
The Politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping also warned China’s economic recovery remained uneven and that its foundation was not yet solid.
Exports unexpectedly accelerated in April and import growth hit a decade high, thanks to strong demand for Chinese goods amid a brisk US economic recovery and stalled factory production in other countries.
However, April also saw factory activity slow as supply bottlenecks and rising costs weighed on production.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by a record 18.3 per cent in the first quarter and many economists expect growth will exceed 8 per cent this year.
Some warn that continuing global supply chain disruptions and higher comparison bases will sap momentum in coming quarters.
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