Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

China economic growth takes another step back

China economic growth takes another step back

Retail sales, which increase by 10.7 percent year-on-year in April, beat the 10.6 percent forecast by Reuters but still softer than March's 10.9 percent.

In March, China's natural gas production rose to a record 13.6 billion cubic meters (480.3 billion cubic feet), up 10.5 percent over March previous year, as economic growth spurred more power use in the industrial sector.

Property investment in central China grew 16.8 percent year on year in the same period, faster than the growth rates in eastern and western regions, while property investment in northeastern China declined 13.7 percent.

Fixed-asset investment had been forecast to grow 9.1 per cent over the first four months of the year, easing from 9.2 per cent in January-March.

Industrial production rose 6.5% from a year earlier, against the 7% predicted in a Bloomberg poll of analysts, and the 7.1% by Reuters.

ANZ researchers said China appeared to be returning "to an investment-driven growth strategy" with projects such as One Belt, One Road providing a strong infrastructure pipeline.

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With growth comfortably above this year's target of around 6.5 percent, Chinese policymakers have shifted their focus to reining in financial risks and stamping out speculative activity in the property market.

Investment in the industrial sector rose only 3.5 percent in the first four months, a main drag on total investment growth, while investment in the service sector rose 12.1 percent.

All eyes are on China after several weaker-than-expected data in recent weeks raised doubts that the world's second-largest economy is losing steam.

China's first-quarter economic growth came in at a faster-than-expected 6.9 per cent, on higher government infrastructure spending and a gravity-defying property boom. However, "we're still some way off from the economy weakening to the point where it will test the tolerance of the urgency to address some of these financial risk issues (is even greater)", he said.

Natural gas productions gained six percent on year at 50.9 bcm for the January-April period, the data showed.

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