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China Jan-May property investment cools, sales drop

BEIJING, June 14 (Reuters) - China's real estate investment rose 11.2% in the first five months of the year in annual terms, slowing from 11.9% in the January-April period, official data showed on Friday.

It was the slowest pace seen since 2018, when it grew 9.5% in the January-December period.

For January-May, property sales by floor area fell 1.6% in annual terms, deepening from a 0.3 percent decline for January-April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

The real estate market, a crucial driver of growth for China, has shown some signs of recovery in recent months as some local governments loosen investment restrictions to support a slowing economy. Analysts say official efforts to boost economic momentum could continue propping up the market.

The picture is very uneven, however, as a slowdown has been felt deeply in many provincial cities in China after the real estate market suffered a downturn in late 2018. Price cuts offered by developers have led to protests by angry buyers, making authorities wary of the risk of social unrest. (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Stella Qiu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)