China's economy slows from recent bounce

16 May, 2017, 09:51 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • A worker packs pipelines onto a truck at a local plastic pipe factory in Donghegang village on the outskirts of Xiongxian county

Industrial output growth in China slowed from a 7.6% year-on-year clip in April to 6.5% for March (consensus: 7.0%), with softness in overseas demand and domestic consumption the chief factors, according to Julian Evans-Pritchard at Capital Economics.

Due to the threat posed by cheap credit-fuelled stimulus, Beijing has tightened the screws on speculative financing in the past few months.

Economic activity in Asia's largest economy was weaker-than-expected last month as presaged by recent purchasing managers' indices for factory and services sector activity.

"But given that growth is still fine, in the second quarter policymakers will still focus on reducing financial risk".

Real estate investment in China rose in April from March although sales growth was significantly slower, suggesting investment in the sector remained robust even as intensified government controls to rein in the market began to take effect.

However, infrastructure spending continued to grow more than 23 per cent year on year in the period from January to last month, supported by Beijing's Belt and Road initiative.

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"We expect crude oil output to recover more in the second half to show positive growth, as a result of higher oil prices and state oil companies boosting spending", said Tee. Chinese leaders have pledged to shift the emphasis to addressing financial risks and asset bubbles which analysts say may pose a threat to the Asian economic giant if not handed well.

Fixed asset investment (FAI) growth slowed to 8.9% y/y ytd for the first four months of 2017 from 9.2% prior.

Industrial output was the biggest disappointment, however, growing at just 6.5 per cent, down from 7.6 per cent in March and a typical forecast of 7.1 per cent for April.

Online sales growth for the year to date accelerated marginally to 25.9%, compared to growth of 10.2% in total retail sales for the four months ended April.

China's economy expanded at a 6.9 per cent pace in the first quarter, accelerating from 6.8 per cent in the previous quarter, and 77.2 per cent of it was driven by consumption, 12.6 percentage points higher than the 2016 level.

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