Industrial production in China was up 7.3 percent on year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday - below forecasts for an 8.6 percent expansion following the 8.3 percent gain in March.

For the period of January through April, industrial output was up 5.5 percent on year. Through the first three months of the year, output had been higher by an annual 5.1 percent.

Among the individual components, textiles were up 7.8 percent on year, while non-metals added 11.7 percent, ferrous metals were off 1.7 percent, telecommunications equipment added 1.1 percent, crude coal was up 7.9 percent, crude oil gained 0.8 percent, electricity fell 3.5 percent, pig iron gained 0.4 percent, crude steel was down 3.9 percent, rolled steel added 2.6 percent, cement jumped 12.9 percent and automobiles soared 17.3 percent.

Also on Wednesday, the NBS also said that retail sales were up 14.8 percent on year in April to 934.32 billion yuan, slightly better than forecasts for a 14.7 percent annual gain.

Through the first four months of the year, retail sales were up 15 percent to 3.874 trillion yuan.

Urban retail sales gained 13.9 percent to 632.96 billion yuan, while rural retail sales added 16.7 percent to 301.36 billion yuan.

Among the individual components, food sales were up 9.2 percent on year, while apparel was up 13.9 percent, grain added 4.8 percent, meat was up 6.5 percent, sports added 5 percent, daily use items jumped 13.7 percent, appliances gained 0.6 percent, furniture was up 22.8 percent, cosmetics rose 18.2 percent, jewelry gained 10.4 percent, auto-related goods gained 18.5 percent, oil added 0.3 percent, building materials rose 10.8 percent and communications equipment fell 8.4 percent.

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