China industrial output growth at 17-year low, investment up:The Asahi Shimbun

China Gas Holdings

Mao Shengyong, a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), addressed the doubts on Thursday (link in Chinese), saying that the revision of the GDP data for 2017 was not aimed at pushing up the GDP growth for 2018.

China's property investment accelerated in the first two months of the year driven by strong demand in its hinterland and defying a decline in sales, government curbs in bigger markets and a broader economic slowdown. But, the growth will be small due to depleting reserves at main producing fields and as new discoveries tend to be marginal. Another cause of concern from today's data release was the unemployment rate, which grew by 5.3% in January and February from 4.9% in December and to the highest level in two years.

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.

Output growth at China's factories and workshops for the first two months slowed to 5.3% year-on-year, from 5.7% in December, a multi-year low and short of forecasts.

Private-sector fixed-asset investment, which accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China, rose 7.5 percent in the same period, compared with an 8.7 percent rise in 2018, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

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. The growth was faster than the 9.5 percent expansion recorded in 2018.

The real estate market has shown signs of fatigue in recent months in the face of persistent government curbs on speculative investment, as Beijing is seeking to reduce debt risks in the financial system.

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.

Beijing has tried to restart spending.

But it still remains well below the near 20% growth seen for many years. Beijing has also become less anxious about cities easing existing curbs and is more concerned about the broader economic impact of the trade war with the United States.

On an annual basis, home prices rose 10.4 percent in February, accelerating from a 10.0 percent gain in January.



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