China’s April industrial output rises 6.7%, beats expectations - GulfToday

China’s April industrial output rises 6.7%, beats expectations


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China’s industrial output grew 6.7 per cent year-on−year in April, accelerating from the 4.5 per cent pace seen in March, as the recovery in the manufacturing sector gathered pace.

The official data released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) came above a 5.5 per cent increase in a Reuters poll of analysts.

However, retail sales, a gauge of consumption, rose 2.3 per cent in April, slowing from a 3.1 per cent increase in March. Analysts had expected retail sales to grow 3.8 per cent.

Fixed asset investment expanded 4.2 per cent in the first four months of 2024 from the same period a year earlier, versus expectations for a 4.6 per cent rise. It grew 4.5 per cent in first three months.

Economic data released earlier this month painted a mixed picture for April.

China’s exports and imports returned to growth in April after contracting in the previous month while consumer prices rose for the third straight month.

But China’s new bank lending fell more than expected in April from the previous month while broad credit growth hit a record low, raising the prospect of more policy support for the economy.

The government has set an ambitious 2024 growth target of around 5 per cent. China’s economy expanded a faster-than-expected 5.3 per cent in the first three months of this year.

China on Friday kicked off issuance of its 1 trillion yuan ($138.17 billion) of ultra-long special treasury bonds that will have tenors of 20 to 50 years to raise funds it will use to stimulate key sectors of its flagging economy.

Property investment fell 9.8 per cent year-on-year in January-April, after declining 9.5% in January-March.

China’s property sector, which accounts for a quarter of the economy, has been hit by a regulatory crackdown and is still dragging down the overall economy.

The cities of Hangzhou, home of tech giant Alibaba, and Xian both lifted home purchase curbs earlier this month, the latest efforts by local governments to promote home sales.

China is also considering a plan for local governments nation wide to buy millions of unsold homes, Bloomberg reported earlier this week.

A meeting of Communist Party leaders last month called for measures to support the property sector, saying it will coordinate and improve policies to reduce housing inventories and optimise policy measures for new housing.

The job market improved. The nationwide survey-based jobless rate stayed at 5.0 per cent in April, down from 5.2 per cent in March.

China’s crude steel output in April fell 2.6 per cent from the previous month and dropped 7.2 per cent from the previous year, statistics bureau data showed on Friday, missing expectations.

Many market participants had forecast a monthly rise, citing improved downstream demand and profitability that encouraged steelmakers to ramp up production last month.

China, the world’s largest steel producer, manufactured 85.94 million metric tonnes of crude steel last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

That represents an average daily output of 2.86 million tonnes, versus 2.85 million tonnes in March and 3.09 million tonnes in April 2023.

April is a shorter month than March by one day, which some analysts said could explain the lower monthly output.

In the first four months of 2024, China produced 343.67 million tonnes of crude steel, down 3 per cent year on year.

Output in May will likely pick up thanks to more production resumptions among mills driven by resilient demand and improving consumption prospects analysts said.

“Given that total output in the first four months is already seeing an obvious decline, we expect this year’s annual output will be no higher than the 2023 level even without a nationwide government-mandated production restriction,” said Chu Xinli, a Shanghai-based analyst at China Futures.

China’s state planner, which announced in early April that it would continue to manage crude steel output in 2024, has yet to unveil details on the timing and scale of production limits.

China’s primary aluminium production in April rose 7.2 per cent from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, fuelled by rising prices for the light metal in China and globally.

The world’s biggest aluminium producer churned out 3.58 million metric tonnes of primary aluminium in April, according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Average daily output in April was 119,333 tonnes, compared with 115,806 tonnes in March, according to Reuters calculations based on the data.

Metal prices rallied in April as investors bet on increased prospects for demand from China’s clean energy sector, where aluminium is used in the making of solar components and wind turbines.


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