Beijing-China's industrial output slowed during the first two months of the year as unemployment rose, official data showed Thursday, while some indicators showed a slowdown in the world's second largest economy stabilizing.
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. Crude oil output grew 0.5% year on year to 30.69 million mt in the first two months of 2019.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected it to rise 6.0 percent, edging up marginally from 5.9 percent in 2018.
But investment picked up speed as the government fast-tracked more road and rail projects, offering some relief for policymakers as they work to avert a sharper slowdown, data showed on Thursday. Last year economic growth fell to 6.6%, the lowest value in 28 years.
Credit conditions have been on the looser side in recent months as China has cut the amount of cash banks keep as reserves five times since previous year to boost lending to companies.
However, retail sales remain near a 15-year low, said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a note, adding that "the near-term outlook still looks downbeat".
But fixed-asset investment rose 6.1 percent, while retail sales rose 8.2 percent, both more than expected.
Much of the gain appeared due to a bounce in property investment, which quickened to a five-year high of 11.6 percent, though home sales fell.
The consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.5 percent year-on-year in February, compared with 1.7 percent in January, the NBS said. Economists are expecting further easing measures by the Chinese government to spur business activity.
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property, a major sticking point between the two sides during months of negotiations.
The possibility of having deflation in China is small.
But sales of appliances and furniture softened considerably early in the year, possibly linked to a 3.6 percent drop in home sales. Total new bank lending hit a record in 3.23 trillion yuan (US$481 billion) in January.