Beijing: Growth in China’s industrial production and retail sales both accelerated in August, government data showed Sunday, amid increasing international concern about the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy.
Industrial output, which measures output at factories, workshops and mines, rose 6.1 percent year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced.
This outpaced July’s year-on-year gain of 6.0 percent, but came in below a median forecast of 6.5 percent in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News.
Retail sales increased 10.8 percent in August from a year earlier, the NBS said.
This exceeded the previous month’s 10.5 percent and also bested the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey of 10.6 percent.
The figures are the latest closely watched snapshot of the Asian giant, a key driver of global economic growth, after a series of disappointing indicators during the current third quarter.
China’s economy expanded 7.3 percent in 2014, its weakest performance in 24 years, and growth has slowed further so far this year. Gross domestic product (GDP) increased 7.0 percent in each of the first two quarters of this year.
Authorities are officially targeting growth of about 7.0 percent this year, though economists are increasingly seeing that goal as difficult to achieve given recent weakness.
Fixed-asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, expanded 10.9 percent on-year in the January-August period, the NBS said, coming in below the median forecast of a gain of 11.2 percent.
The latest official and private surveys show manufacturing is contracting, while inflation data released Thursday showed consumer price rises accelerating but factory gate prices in deflation for the 42nd straight month and falling at the fastest pace in six years.
The outlook for China’s economy has taken on added importance given weakness in many emerging markets. China accounts for more than 13 percent of the global economy, according to both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Authorities have been aggressively dealing with the slowing economy, cutting interest rates five times since last November as weli as reducing bank reserve requirements to spur lending.
But Chinese officials have come under increasing pressure due to concerns about slowing growth, a shock devaluation last month of the yuan currency and questions over their efforts to prop up the country’s stock markets.
Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday took advantage of an address at a World Economic Forum meeting in China to reassure his international audience that officials are in control.
Li stressed that while the country has problems, it poses no risk to the global economy and will not experience a “hard landing”.
China’s leaders are trying to pull off a much-touted retooling of the economic model to one in which consumer spending rather than heavy investment plays the leading role in driving growth.