China's industrial production slows; unemployment up

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low but investment picks

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low but investment picks

China combines Janaury and February activity data in an attempt to smooth distortions created by the long Lunar New Year holidays early each year, but some analysts say a clearer picture of the economy may not emerge first-quarter data is released in April.

Average daily steel output over the two months reached 2.54 million tonnes, up from 2.46 million tonnes in December and 2.32 million tonnes in the same months a year ago, according to Reuters calculations based on official data.

Housing transactions slowed as property sales by floor area fell 3.6 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2019, easing from the 0.9 percent gain in December. Most analysts believe activity may not convincingly stabilise until the middle of the year. Last year economic growth fell to 6.6%, the lowest value in 28 years.

China's own official factory survey, which is seasonally adjusted, showed manufacturing output contracted in February for the first time since January 2009.

New home prices in China grew at their slowest pace in 10 months in February in sign of slackening demand as the economy cools further, leaving authorities walking a tight rope between loosening some existing curbs and flushing out speculators.

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

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It will take effect on January 1, 2020, and should make it easier for foreign companies to establish their names in China . However, Parker added that "while the language on criminal liability is positive, it will be hard to enforce".

Retail sales increased by 8.2 percent year-on-year in the same period, unchanged from December, while industrial output went up 5.3 percent.

Job shedding by export-oriented companies led to a jump in the unemployment rate last month, said Li Xiru, an official with the statistics bureau.

China's fixed asset investment (or FAI) rose by 6.1%, which was in line with economists' expectations. It is was also predicted that the growth will be small because reserves deplete at the main production fields and as new discoveries tend to be marginal.

Xining, the capital of Qinghai province in central China by the Tibetan Plateau, was the top performer last month with a monthly price increase of 2.3 percent.

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.

In the January to February period, exports stood at 2.4 trillion yuan, while imports were 2.1 trillion yuan.

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