Is China’s Economy Cooling? China Economic Figures For April Hint That Annual Targets Could Be Missed

Chinese factory worker
A worker wearing protective glasses welds steel products at a heavy equipment manufacturing factory in Luoyang, Henan province May 1, 2013.

China’s latest industrial output report suggests that the unexpected cooling of the world’s fastest growing economy in the first quarter is continuing in the manufacturing sector well into the first half of the year.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday that industrial output grew 9.3 percent in April. That's lower than the 9.5 percent forecast by some analysts and down from the 9.9 percent registered in January and February but higher than the 8.9 percent registered in March.

Power consumption rebounded considerably in April from a six-month low in March, rising 6.2 percent year-over-year in April. While the consumption rate increased considerably from March, where output was up 2.1 percent from the same month last year, it’s below the 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent growth the Chinese Electricity Council said it expected for China this year.  

Fixed-asset investment -- the investments in assets required to operate businesses, such as machinery, buildings or land -- dropped in April to 20.6 percent for the first four months of the year, down from the January-to-March rate of 20.9 percent.

Real estate investment continues to grow, however, to 21.1 percent in the first third of the year compared with 20.2 percent in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the NBS reported that Chinese consumers boosted retail sales by 12.8 percent to $283.4 billion, which is up slightly from the 12.6 percent registered in March but slower than needed for the government’s target of 14.5 percent for the year.

Join the Discussion