China economic data raises fresh doubts over recovery

14 May 2016

China's investment, factory output and retail sales all increased less than expected in April, adding to doubts about the world's second-largest economy stablising.

Growth in factory output was down to 6 per cent in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), disappointing analysts who expected it to rise 6.5 per cent on an annual basis after increasing 6.8 per cent the prior month.

China's fixed-asset investment growth was down to 10.5 per cent year-on-year in the January-April period, as against market expectations of 10.9 per cent, retreating from the first quarter's 10.7 per cent.

Fixed investment by private firms continued to slow, pointing to private businesses remaining sceptical of economic prospects. Investment by private firms was up 5.2 per cent year-on-year in January-April, slowing from the 5.7 per cent growth in the first quarter.

"It appears that all the engines suddenly lost momentum, and growth outlook has turned soft as well," Zhou Hao, economist at Commerzbank in Singapore, said in a research note.

"At the end of the day, we have acknowledge that China is still struggling."

In its data announcement, the statistics bureau said "Because the total amount of private investment is relatively large, its continued slowdown could restrain stable growth, and requires a high degree of attention."

"Industrial production was lower than expectations, indicating that the stabilisation momentum for the economy is not as strong as we imagined," Liao Qun, China economist at Citic Bank International in Hong Kong, told AFP.

"There was a strong economic rebound in March, so there was a bit of a correction in April," he said.

Chinese officials said, they were willing to accept slower growth to carry out structural reforms for retooling the economy.

The People's Daily newspaper, considered to be the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party issued a warning over credit-led growth.

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