China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low levels

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The indicator of consumption rose 8.2 percent year on year in the first two months of the year, flat with that in December, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Growth in China's industrial output fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year and the jobless rate rose, pointing to further weakness in the world's second-biggest economy that is likely to trigger more support measures from Beijing, Trend reports referring to Reuters.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected it to rise 6.0 percent, edging up marginally from 5.9 percent in 2018.

"Looking into the future we expect more cities will take measures to stabilise their own markets, but we don't expect Beijing to lift the curbs across the board", said Daniel Yao, head of research at JLL China, a property services and investment management company.

China's economic growth cooled to 6.6 percent a year ago, the slowest in almost three decades, and it is expected to lose more momentum in the next few months.

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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.

In the first two months of the year, the total volume of imports and exports was 4.5 trillion yuan, influenced by the Spring Festival factor, a year-on-year increase of 0.7 percent, but down by 1.2 percent from last December.

China's fixed asset investment (or FAI) rose by 6.1%, which was in line with economists' expectations. The agency failed to provide monthly breakdowns of the output because of the week-long celebration of the Lunar New Year Holiday in early February. Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China, and Beijing has spent considerable effort trying to ease financial strains on smaller, private firms.

But the rate of growth remains stuck around 15-year lows, highlighting concerns that consumers are growing less confident as the economy slows. Retail sales rose 9 percent from one year earlier to 38.1 trillion yuan (about 5.7 trillion US dollars) in 2018.

But sales of appliances and furniture softened considerably early in the year, possibly linked to a 3.6 percent drop in home sales. Land transaction fees in 40 major Chinese cities fell 20.9 percent in January-February period from the same time a year earlier, according to the state-run Securities Times.

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