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April indicators signal all's well
Last Updated: 2017-05-16 16:15 | China Daily
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Data on factory output, retail sales, job market offset investment fears

China's economy continued to fare well in April, bolstered by deepening supply-side structural reform that is fueling innovation and the new economy, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

High-tech industry held up well, online retail sales increased at a fast pace, and job growth remained strong, Xing Zhihong, spokesman for the NBS, said at a news conference.

"The fundamentals of China's economy remain sound and sustainable despite slowing growth of some economic indicators," he said, referring to the weakening investment and consumption growth.

Official data showed the country's industrial output expanded by 6.5 percent year-on-year in April, 0.5 of a percentage point higher than a year earlier, but 1.1 percentage points lower than in March.

"The industrial structure continued to improve," Xing said, citing fixed-asset investment in high-tech industry that increased by 22.6 percent year-on-year, 13.7 percentage points higher than overall fixed-asset investment growth.

Retail sales, meanwhile, grew by 10.7 percent year-on-year in April, 0.6 percentage point higher than a year earlier but 0.2 percentage point lower than in March.

Online retail sales amounted to 1.92 trillion yuan ($278 billion) in the first four months of this year, up by 32 percent over the same period last year.

The job market remains stable. The unemployment rate in 31 major cities dropped below the March level and has remained below 5 percent since September, the NBS said, adding that China created 4.65 million jobs in the first four months of this year, approximately 220,000 more than the same period last year. Steady job growth indicated an uptrend in the national economy, Xing said.

The expanding investment in real estate remains an engine for the country's economic growth, said Liu Liangdong, an analyst at China Merchants Securities Co.

Analysts, however, said China's full-year economic growth might decrease moderately.

Liu said: "From a long-term perspective, the country's monetary policy will not likely change significantly, and key tasks remain liquidity tightening and deleveraging."

Zhu Yiping, an analyst at Western Securities Co, said: "Several downside risks might come from infrastructure and real estate sectors (this year)."

Highlighting challenges facing the economy, Xing of the NBS said that both domestic and foreign environments were complicated and appear set for change, and "structural imbalance" remains a deep-rooted problem.

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