China’s economic activity weakened more than expected last month, data showed on Monday, sparking concerns that the world’s No. 2 economy could be losing momentum after achieving 6.9 percent growth in the first quarter of the year.
Value-added industrial output, a rough proxy for economic growth, rose by 6.5 percent in April from a year earlier, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The number was well below what many economists had predicted, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Fixed-asset investment, meanwhile, grew 8.9 percent in the first four months of 2017 from a year earlier. That was slower than expected and a bit less than the January-March period.
In other data, retail sales expanded 10.7 percent in April on year, a slight slowdown from March’s increase.
“The data was all weaker than in March,” the Journal quoted Standard Chartered Bank economist Ding Shuang as saying. “April is likely to be the turning point for the rest of the year.”
The weaker April data dovetails with other signs that China’s economic engine is losing steam after a surprisingly strong start to the year.
Industrial metal prices have fallen in recent weeks and auto sales declined in April after rising in March.
Also, official purchasing managers’ indexes weakened last month and inventory restocking has slowed.
Property sales also decelerated sharply in April year on year, and construction starts weakened.
Still, most economists believe China can achieve its growth target of 6.5 percent this year as momentum from the year’s strong start helps prop up the economy, the report noted.
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