China June factory output rises 7.6 pct, investment up 8.6 pct, both top forecasts


BEIJING, July 17 (Reuters) - China's factory output grew 7.6 percent in June from a year earlier, while fixed-asset investment expanded 8.6 percent in the first six months of the year, both beating forecasts.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted factory output would grow 6.5 percent in June, unchanged from the previous month.

Fixed asset investment had been forecast to grow 8.5 percent over the first six months of the year, easing from 8.6 percent in January-May.

Retail sales rose 11.0 percent in June from a year earlier, quickening from May and beating analysts' expectations for a 10.6 percent rise.

Growth of private investment quickened to 7.2 percent in January-June from 6.8 percent in the first five months of the year, suggesting an improved appetite from private firms to invest after a sharp loss of momentum in recent years.

Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China.

China is targeting growth of around 9 percent in fixed asset investment for 2017, and expects retail sales to increase about 10 percent.

China is targeting annual economic growth of around 6.5 percent this year, down from the 6.7 percent pace clocked in 2016 - the slowest in 26 years. (Reporting by Kevin Yao and Lusha Zhang; Writing by Elias Glenn; Editing by Kim Coghill)