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Mixed growth picture emerges after new data

Updated: 2013-12-11 07:06
By Zheng Yangpeng and Chen Jia ( China Daily)

Mixed growth picture emerges after new data
Workers assemble wind turbines in Hami, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Growth in electricity output, a key indicator to gauge the health of China's industrial sector, fell to 6.8 percent in November from 8.4 percent year-on-year growth in October. [Photo / China Daily]

China's industrial output and investment growth cooled in November while retail sales unexpectedly picked up, presenting a mixed growth picture.

The output from industrial enterprises with annual sales of more than 20 million yuan ($3.29 million) rose 10 percent from a year earlier, a fall from October's 10.3 percent year-on-year growth, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.

The growth rate is lower than projections by various financial institutions.

Electricity output, a key indicator to gauge the vitality of industrial activities, fell to 6.8 percent year-on-year growth from 8.4 percent a month ago.

Meanwhile, China's urban fixed-asset investment growth cooled to 19.9 percent year-on-year in the January to November period, down 0.2 percentage point from the growth rate in the first 10 months. It is the lowest point for the whole year.

"The November industrial output and investment data showed a modest softening in the economy. The process may remain in the coming quarters," said Chang Jian, a senior Barclays Capital economist.

"In the fourth quarter, we expected GDP growth to be relatively stable at 7.6 percent, compared with 7.8 percent in the third quarter," she added.

While investment growth in the manufacturing sector fell by 0.5 percentage point compared with the January to October period, property investment heated up, defying the latest property purchase restriction measures taken in some cities.

The property sector attracted 7.74 trillion yuan of investment in the first 11 months, up 19.5 percent year-on-year. The growth rate is 0.3 percentage point higher than that of the first 10 months.

The value of homes sold in November rose 19 percent to 720.4 billion yuan, the highest since December 2011, from 604.8 billion yuan in October, according to the difference between the NBS' data for the first 11 months and first 10.

"The data surprised the market and showed that housing demand in China is still very strong," said Dai Fang, a Shanghai-based property analyst at Zheshang Securities Co. "Raising the minimum down payment is not working effectively."

Retail sales were a high point among a slew of November data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. They advanced 13.7 percent over a year earlier, up from the 13.3 percent year-on-year growth in October.

China's retail sales will grow by more than 13 percent year-on-year for 2013, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said on Monday. The expected figure is lower than last year's 14.3 percent nominal growth.

Fan Jianping, chief economist at the State Information Center, said consumption growth is likely to be slower in 2014 amid weak market demand - and that may contribute less to the GDP figure. Investment growth may also slow to 17 percent next year because the financing costs may continue to rise under the high borrowing interest rate.

Mixed growth picture emerges after new data