China industrial production misses estimates in April

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Highly-watched economic figures released Monday, including industrial output, retail sales, fixed-asset investment and housing sales, confirmed the message that the ongoing growth model transitioning is providing new impetus to the world's second largest economy.

Despite achieving faster-than-expected growth over the past four quarters, China's declining productivity is a major source of concern.

Regarding natural gas production, China's output jumped by 15 percent on the year in April, to 12.2 billion cubic meters (430.8 billion cubic feet), according to NBS data. From January to April, online retail sales surged 32 percent year on year to 1.92 trillion yuan.

Retail sales rose 10.7 per cent in April from a year earlier, weaker than March's 10.9 per cent gain as home appliances and automobile sales growth slowed from March.

But analysts say China's hot property market appeared to have peaked and investment usually lags behind sales trends.

New construction starts measured by floor area, a telling indicator of developer confidence and correspondingly volatile, rose 11.1 percent in the first four months of the year, moderating from a 11.6 percent rise in the first three months, the bureau said. As a result, China's debt-to-GDP ratio is a staggering 280%.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted factory output would grow by 7.1 per cent in April, easing from March's over two year high rate of 7.6 per cent.

Slowly does it. more signs of steam coming out of China's economy.

Investment by state-controlled firms saw a slight rebound to 13.8% growth for the year to date, while private investment growth for the period suffered a more significant slowdown to 6.9% growth compared to 7.7% in the first three months of 2017. Infrastructure investment and property investment, however, reported solid growth, increasing 23.3% y/y (ytd) and 9.3% y/y, respectively.

However, Beijing is not expected to let growth slow too much ahead of the 19th Party Congress later this year.

The country's first quarter economic growth at 6.9 percent was the strongest since 2015, bolstered by higher government infrastructure spending and a gravity defying property boom.

China's liquidity conditions have also been tightened in the past few weeks, driven mainly by fortified regulatory efforts at financial deleveraging since late March.