China April industrial output up 7%, topping forecasts; investment, retail sales miss

Employees work on a television production line at a factory in Lianyungang in China's eastern Jiangsu province, on March 14, 2018.
Employees work on a television production line at a factory in Lianyungang in China's eastern Jiangsu province, on March 14, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's industrial output grew 7.0 per cent in April from a year earlier, much more than expected, but fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 7.0 per cent in the first four months, below forecasts, official data showed on Tuesday (May 15).

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would rise to 6.3 per cent, bouncing back from a softer-than-expected 6.0 per cent reading in March.

Investment growth had been expected to ease only slightly to 7.4 per cent in the first four months from the same period a year earlier, compared with 7.5 per cent in January-March.

Private sector fixed-asset investment rose 8.4 per cent in January-April, slowing from growth of 8.9 per cent in the first three months.

Private investment accounts for about 60 per cent of overall investment in China.

Retail sales rose 9.4 per cent in April from a year earlier, missing expectations of an increase of 10.0 per cent, compared with a rise of 10.1 per cent in March.

China's economy grew at a slightly faster-than-expected pace of 6.8 per cent in the first quarter, well above Beijing's target of around 6.5 per cent for the full-year.

But economists have stuck by forecasts that its momentum will cool later in the year, even if Beijing and Washington can reach a compromise in their heated trade dispute.