China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low levels

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low levels

Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 0.5 percent in February, slowing from a 0.6 percent gain in January and marked the lowest growth rate since April 2018, according to Reuters calculation of data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday.

The industrial output expanded 5.3 percent in the first two months, down from 5.7 percent in December 2018, NBS data showed Thursday.

"Looking into the future we expect more cities will take measures to stabilise their own markets, but we don't expect Beijing to lift the curbs across the board", said Daniel Yao, head of research at JLL China, a property services and investment management company.

Consumption contributed 76.2 percent to the country's GDP growth previous year.

China's manufacturers are facing weaker sales at home and overseas, with exports hit by US tariffs on Chinese goods and cooling global demand.

Fixed-asset investment growth quickened to 6.1 percent in the first two months of this year.

China's unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in January and February from 4.9% in December, reports the South China Morning Post, citing figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.

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Benchmark rebar prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed 10 percent in the past two months and hit a peak of 3,908 yuan ($582.82) a tonne on February 11, the highest level since late August.

Private sector fixed-asset investment rose 7.5 percent in the same period, easing from an increase of 8.7 percent in 2018. The agency failed to provide monthly breakdowns of the output because of the week-long celebration of the Lunar New Year Holiday in early February.

Industry data this week showed automobile sales in China fell for the eighth consecutive month in February.

The production pick-up followed a rise in profit margins at steel mills over January and February, with earnings from making construction product rebar jumping more than 20 percent from December, according to data tracked by Jinrui Futures.

China's state planner announced measures in January to boost consumption of goods ranging from eco-friendly appliances to big-ticket items such as cars, but the size and scope of the subsidy scheme is still unclear.

Regulators have ordered big banks to increase loans to smaller firms by more than 30 percent this year, despite the risk of more bad loans.

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