China’s industrial output has had the weakest start to a year since 2009 and lending and retail sales growth have slowed, underscoring challenges for a new leadership that wants to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
Government data showed at the weekend that production increased 9.9 percent in the first two months and retail sales rose 12.3 percent, trailing economists’ estimates. New local currency loans in February fell to 620 billion yuan (R896bn), lower than the estimates of 27 out of 28 Bloomberg analysts.
Strengthening US demand after the US unemployment rate fell to a four-year low may help incoming Premier Li Keqiang achieve the 7.5 percent expansion in gross domestic product sought by policymakers who were entering the final week of their meeting at the National People’s Congress in Beijing. – Bloomberg