China factory output better than expected

Darnell Taylor
March 15, 2018

China combines January and February activity data in a bid to smooth out seasonal distortions caused by the timing of the long Lunar New Year holidays, which began in mid-February this year but fell in January last year.

Fixed-asset investment outside rural households climbed 7.9% in the first two months of 2018 from a year earlier, quickening from a 7.2% increase in 2017.

The growth accelerated from the 6.2 percent growth in December 2017, and was faster than the 6.3 percent growth during the same period previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement. Consumer price inflation rose by more than expected, but producer price inflation slowed.

Total investment in the first two months stood at 1.08 trillion yuan, the NBS said in a statement on its website. However, this surge in exports may not be sustained due to the rising trade tensions with the US, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Fixed asset investment had been expected to grow 7.0 percent, cooling from 7.2 percent in the whole of 2017.

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Private sector fixed-asset investment rose 8.1 per cent, compared with an increase of 6 per cent a year ago.

Retail sales rose 9.7 per cent, slightly missing expectations of 9.8 per cent growth but up from 9.4 per cent in December.

Meanwhile, China's property sector, which accounts for one-third of the country's economic growth, again proved its resilience, despite a government crackdown on speculation and a push to establish a property tax.

But comments by top officials at China's Parliament in the past week suggested that Beijing will be more cautious about spending this year while it focuses on reducing the risks from a rapid build-up in debt.

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