This Aug 7, 2017 file photo shows a woman working in a textile factory in Linyi in China's eastern Shandong province. (STR / AFP)
BEIJING – China's value-added industrial output grew 6 percent year on year in August, compared with the 6.4-percent increase for July, while fixed-asset investment expanded 7.8 percent in the first eight months, official data showed on Thursday.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that China's private fixed-asset investment grew 6.4 percent year on year during the same period of time, down from 6.9 percent for the January-July period.
FIXED-ASSET INVESTMENT STABLE
Fixed-asset investment (FAI) in China remained stable during the January-August period thanks to robust investment in infrastructure.
During the eight months, FAI grew 7.8 percent year on year to 39.42 trillion yuan (more than US$6 trillion), NBS data showed. The pace was slower than the 8.3-percent increase in the first seven months of the year and failed to meet market estimates of 8.2 percent.
"Despite the mild retreat, the investment structure continued to improve," NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua said at a press conference, citing more capital pumped into high-tech industries, infrastructure and weak economic areas.
Infrastructure investment, which accounts for more than 20 percent of total FAI, jumped 19.8 percent, driven by investment in public facility management and road transport. High-tech manufacturing saw investment up by 19.5 percent.
The NBS calculation does not include investment made by farmers. It includes projects with planned investment of more than 5 million yuan and all property development.
RETAIL SALES GROWTH SLOWS
China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.1 percent year on year in August, 0.3 percentage points slower than that in July.
Total retail sales of consumer goods in the first eight months rose 10.4 percent year on year to hit 23.2 trillion yuan (about US$3.5 trillion), flat with the growth in the first seven months, the NBS said.
Online sales continued to outpace overall retail sales growth, surging 34.3 percent year on year in the first eight months, up from 33.7 percent in the first seven months.
Online sale of physical goods expanded 29.2 percent year on year, up from 28.9 percent in the January-July period, accounting for 13.8 percent of total retail sales.
Retail sales in rural areas rose 11.5 percent in August, outpacing the 9.9-percent increase for urban areas.
PROPERTY INVESTMENT UP
Amid a steady growth in investment in the property sector during the first eight months of 2017, sales continued to slow due to government curbs, NBS data showed.
Real estate investment rose 7.9 percent year on year during the January-August period, unchanged from the growth in the first seven months.
Investment for residential properties went up 10.1 percent year on year, accounting for 68.3 percent of investment in the sector.
With a slew of government restrictions to prevent speculation, property sales continued to cool. In terms of floor area, property sales gained 12.7 percent, retreating 1.3 percentage points from January-July.
By the end of August, 623.5 million square meters of property remained unsold, down by 11.4 million square meters from a month earlier.
China has been stepping up efforts to rein in property speculation this year after rocketing housing prices fueled asset bubble concerns, particularly in major cities.
Dozens of local governments have passed or expanded restrictions on house purchases and increased the minimum downpayments required for mortgages.
The boom was also cooled by tightening liquidity. While the central bank has left benchmark interest rates on hold, it has used diversified monetary tools to ensure liquidity and guide interbank market rates higher.
Of 70 cities surveyed in July, the pace of new home price growth slowed in 15 major cities compared with the same month last year. On a month-on-month basis, new home prices fell or remained flat in 14 cities in July, up from 10 in June.