Economic Activity in China Slows in Many Sectors in April

Property buildings are seen against the dawn sky in Beijing

Investment by state-controlled firms saw a slight rebound to 13.8% growth for the year to date, while private investment growth for the period suffered a more significant slowdown to 6.9% growth compared to 7.7% in the first three months of 2017.

However, production of steel, cement and glass all rose further, suggesting that construction was holding up for the moment, the same research house said.

China's retail sales, a key indicator of consumption, grew 10.7 per cent year on year in April, 0.2 percentage points slower than the March level, official data showed on Monday.

Growth in property investment, which mainly focuses on residential but also includes commercial and office space, accelerated to 9.6 percent in April from a year earlier, compared to 9.4 percent in March, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Investment in the industrial sector rose only 3.5 percent in the first four months, a main drag on total investment growth.

A red-hot property market, fueled by speculative investments, has been identified by analysts and policymakers as one of the biggest risks to growth.

"China seems to have returned to an investment-driven growth strategy".




In the first three months of the year China expanded by a better-than-expected 6.9 percent, raising hopes the economy was stabilising after the 2016 growth rate of 6.7 percent, which was the slowest in a quarter of a century.

Natural gas productions gained six percent on year at 50.9 bcm for the January-April period, the data showed.

Private sector investment grew 6.9 percent in the first four months to 8.81 trillion yuan, accounting for 61 percent of the total, the statement said.

The robust economic growth momentum has supported job creation and new business registration.

China's pig iron output in the first four months of this year increased 4.2% year on year to 238.21 million mt.

China still has a long list of reform tasks, many intertwined with one another, which when added to global risks like USA interest rate increases and protectionism makes policy-making tricky, analysts said. "But both domestic and global environment is still complicated and structural contradictions have not been fundamentally eased", said Xing.

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