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China industrial output eases in April

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SHANGHAI: China’s industrial output moderated in April from the previous month, official figures showed on Saturday, raising worries over the strength of a rebound in the world’s second-largest economy.

Industrial output rose 6.0 percent year-on-year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said, down from a 6.8 percent jump in March.

The Chinese economy grew at its slowest quarterly pace in seven years in the first three months of the year, but the figure met market expectations and raised hopes it has started to improve.

Policymakers are seeking to wean China away from cheap exports and government-led investment to rely on domestic consumers as the key driver for growth in the world’s most populous country.

Separately, retail sales — an indicator of domestic consumption — rose 10.1 percent on the year in April, the bureau said, weaker than the 10.5 percent gain in March.

Fixed asset investment, a gauge of government spending, rose 10.5 percent in the January-April period, it said. That was slower than the 10.7 percent rise in the first three months of the year.

Chinese officials say they are willing to accept slower growth to carry out structural reforms to retool the economy.

The People’s Daily newspaper, considered to be the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, on Monday quoted a source as sounding a warning over using credit to drive growth.

China was likely to have an “L-shaped” growth pattern, suggesting it will remain flat, the “authoritative person” said.

The Asian giant’s economy grew 6.9 percent for all of last year, its weakest in a quarter of a century. Premier Li Keqiang in March set a growth target in a range of 6.5-7.0 percent for 2016.

 

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