China's crude steel output up 9.2% YoY in Jan-Feb: NBS

China Gas Holdings

Chinese Slowdown Deepens: Industrial Output at 17-Year Low

Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.1 percent year-on-year in the combined January to February period, compared with 5.9 percent for the whole of 2018, the NBS said on Thursday.

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.

China's unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in January and February from 4.9% in December, reports the South China Morning Post, citing figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Even with additional support, China's economic growth is still expected to cool to around 6.2 percent this year from 6.6 percent in 2018, according to Reuters polls. Policymakers huddled in Beijing have talked up plans to support the economy, announcing tax cuts, fee reductions, and financing support.

A plan to cut value-added tax for manufacturers will help the struggling sector.

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In January and February vehicle sales continued to fall and manufacturing activity sunk.

The latest data showed growth in retail sales for January-February remained flat from December, rising 8.2% year-on-year and slightly above forecasts from economists polled by Bloomberg News.

Expects economic growth to remain steady.

The real estate market has shown signs of fatigue in recent months in the face of persistent government curbs on speculative investment, as Beijing is seeking to reduce debt risks in the financial system. They raised 2.45 trillion yuan ($365.38 billion) in the first two months of the year, up 2.1 percent from the same period last year, slower than the 6.4 percent rise in the full year of 2018, the NBS said.

Benchmark rebar prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed 10 percent in the past two months and hit a peak of 3,908 yuan ($582.82) a tonne on February 11, the highest level since late August.

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Beijing has tried to restart spending.

China's property investment accelerated in the first two months of the year driven by strong demand in its hinterland and defying a decline in sales, government curbs in bigger markets and a broader economic slowdown.

Reuters reported in January that some factories in Guangdong - China's export hub - had shut earlier than usual ahead of the holidays, and some were expected to close for good as the trade war curtailed orders. China, however, is not alone in facing trade woes.

The slowdown has stalled price growth in the country's industrial sector while consumer inflation has eased.

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