China’s mixed April data shows continued downward pressure but resilience despite trade war

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/15 11:57:18

China on Wednesday released a set of mixed economic data for April, with slower growth seen in retail sales and fixed-asset investment but improvements in high-tech sectors and the job market, signaling that the world's second largest economy continues to face slowing pressure despite stabilizing signs.

In April, China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 7.2 percent year-on-year to 3.06 trillion yuan ($445.29 billion), 1.5 percentage points slower than the growth rate in March, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Total fixed-asset investment grew 6.1 percent year-on-year to over 15.57 trillion yuan in the first four months of 2019, slower than the 6.3 percent growth rate in the January-March period, data from the NBS showed.

However, investment in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech services sectors grew markedly faster at 11.4 percent and 15.5 percent year-on-year, respectively, the NBS said. Investment in real estate also picked up pace to 11.9 percent year-on-year in the first four months, 2.4 percentage points higher than last year's annual rate, it said.

In another relieving sign, China added 4.59 million urban jobs in the first four months of the year, bringing the surveyed urban unemployment rate to 5 percent in April, down from 5.2 percent in March.

"Generally speaking, the national economy sustained the momentum of progress in overall stability with growing positive factors in April," Liu Aihua, a spokesperson for the NBS, told a press briefing on Wednesday.

However, Liu said that the external environment is still challenging and complex, with instability and uncertainty rising and structural problems still significant domestically. "So overall, there is still downward pressure," she said.

Among the external uncertainties facing the Chinese economy is the trade war with the US, which has seen serious escalation over the past few days, as the two biggest economies raise tariffs on each other's goods.

As US officials continued to threaten more tariffs on Chinese goods, Chinese officials have also vowed to retaliate and suggested that the impact of the trade war on domestic economic growth will be limited and controllable.

Li Daxiao, chief economist at Shenzhen-based Yingda Securities, said that despite the "fluctuations" in some economic data in April, there is no fundamental change in the upward trend for the Chinese economy.

"We still have plenty of room in our monetary and fiscal policies that could help deal with any internal or external uncertainties," Li told the Global Times on Wednesday.


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