China investment stabilising, consumption improving: Stats bureau

A customer selects vegetables at a supermarket in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China on Sept 9, 2016.  Investment in China's economy is stabilising and consumption is improving, a spokesman for China's statistics bureau said on Tuesday (Sept 13).
A customer selects vegetables at a supermarket in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China on Sept 9, 2016. Investment in China's economy is stabilising and consumption is improving, a spokesman for China's statistics bureau said on Tuesday (Sept 13).PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Investment in China's economy is stabilising and consumption is improving, a spokesman for China's statistics bureau said on Tuesday (Sept 13).

Fixed asset investment has fallen to 16-year lows, due to a record decline in private investment growth. The increase in investment was unchanged at 8.1 per cent in the January-August period. Analysts had expected an increase of 8.0 per cent. Still, the rate of growth in investment remained the slowest since December 1999.

Retail sales also beat expectations, expanding by 10.6 per cent after a rise of 10.2 per cent the prior month. Analysts had forecast an increase of 10.3 per cent.

Employment remains stable, with 1.13 million jobs created in August, and steep gains in property prices have been initially contained, the statistics bureau's Sheng Laiyun said at a news conference in Beijing.

Chinese policymakers have focused on improving the operating environment for the private sector this year, including calling for better access to credit and fair market access. But private firms still complain of unfair competition with state firms and restricted access to some markets, especially in key parts of the services sector.

Trade data last week showed stronger domestic demand as imports rose for the first time in nearly two years, while exports fell less than expected.

While economic activity in China has cooled this year, it appears less at risk of a hard landing than feared in 2015. The broader economy remains relatively stable, albeit sluggish, despite continued weakness in the massive export sector and overcapacity plaguing many industries.