Official gauges of retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment in China started the third quarter on a downbeat note, with all three decelerating more than expected in July after outperforming in June.
Retail sales grew 10.4 per cent year on year in July, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, down from June’s pace of 11 per cent and undershooting a median estimate of 10.8 per cent from economists surveyed by Reuters.
Online sales growth in the year to date accelerated to 28.9 per cent in July from growth of 28.6 per cent in the six months ended June. But year-to-date sales growth at larger enterprises slowed markedly for the period to 8.7 per cent, from 10.7 per cent at the end of the previous month.
Urban fixed-asset investment rose 8.3 per cent year on year in the first seven months of 2017, likewise coming up short of expectations it would remain unchanged from the pace of 8.6 per cent seen during the previous two months.
Investment by state-run companies edged lower to 11.7 per cent for the period, from a year-on-year pace of 12 per cent growth in the first six months of 2017. Private investment growth also slowed to 6.9 per cent after accelerating for the first time in three months to 7.2 per cent in June.
Together the latest readings on the two components of total investment pointed to tightening in both the state and private sectors after a sudden boost for the latter near the end of Q2, undercutting hopes that private businesses might finally be taking off as state spending continued to ratchet down.
Industrial production rose 6.4 per cent in July, missing expectations it would only slow to a year-on-year rise of 7.2 per cent after growth of 7.6 per cent in June.