Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low levels

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low levels

This year's GDP growth target was set between 6 and 6.5 percent, according to the Government Work Report.

Beijing-China's industrial output slowed during the first two months of the year as unemployment rose, official data showed Thursday, while some indicators showed a slowdown in the world's second largest economy stabilizing.

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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. Infrastructure spending ticked up 4.3% in January and February, from 3.8% the same time previous year. The data indicated the slowest pace of expansion in the last 17 years and came in below economists' expectations of 5.5% and December's 5.7% gain.

But Yan said some markets have showed signs of a rebound in February. Usually, to iron out the distortions in data due to the timing of the Lunar Year holidays each year, China releases the combined data for the first two months of the year.

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Retail sales were marginally better than expected, with the headline figure rising 8.2 percent in January-February from a year earlier, in line with December.

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

An official factory survey showed manufacturing output contracted in February for the first time since January 2009, while factory-gate inflation in February hovered at multi-year lows, pointing to further pressure on industrial profits. But policymakers have vowed to flush out speculators and prevent big fluctuations in housing values as they try to ensure that first-home buyers aren't completely priced out of the market. Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China, and Beijing has spent considerable effort trying to ease financial strains on smaller, private firms.

Beijing is rolling out more support measures to avert a sharper slowdown, but many analysts do not expect activity to convincingly bottom out until summer.

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