China's April economic data indicate growth momentum slows after strong Q1

Two employees tie up steel bars at a steel-making plant in Ganyu, China.
ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
Two employees tie up steel bars at a steel-making plant in Ganyu, China.

China's industrial production missed estimates in April in another sign that growth momentum in the world's second largest economy is slowing, official data showed Monday.

The country's industrial output rose 6.5 per cent in April from a year ago, worse than Reuters' projection of 7.1 percent and down from March's 7.6 percent growth.

Monday's data also showed that China's fixed-asset investment grew 8.9 percent in the first four months of 2017, also missing the 9.1 percent estimated by Reuters.

Retail sales, which increase by 10.7 percent year-on-year in April, beat the 10.6 percent forecast by Reuters but still softer than March's 10.9 percent.

The spotlight has been on China after several weaker-than-expected data in recent weeks raised concerns that the world's second largest economy is losing steam.

The country's PMI manufacturing data indicated that factories lost momentum in April, with growth at the slowest pace since September 2016. Its trade data also missed estimates both on imports and exports.

Softer manufacturing activity in China saw its April producer price inflation cooled more than expected. However, consumer price inflation was slightly higher than expected.

Muted domestic demand and government's crackdown on risky debt may continue to weigh on economic activity, in line with analysts' expectations of moderating growth. China posted a surprise 6.9 percent GDP growth in the first quarter, which analysts said could help the economy hit this year's target of around 6.5 percent even as growth slows in the remaining quarters.

In a Monday statement, National Bureau of Statistics of China said the economy maintained "good growth momentum" in April.

"As a whole, the national economy in April maintained steady performance and good growth momentum with positive factors accumulating. However, we should be aware that domestic and international conditions remain complex and volatile, structural contradictions have not been addressed fully and some emerging issues need to be followed closely," it said.