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China's Industrial Output Growth Tops Forecast; Retail Sales Growth Eases

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China's industrial production growth improved more than expected in April, while retail sales and fixed asset investment grew at slower rates reflecting softer growth momentum.

Industrial production growth accelerated to 7 percent in April from 6 percent in March, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. The rate also exceeded the expected 6.4 percent.

Retail sales grew 9.4 percent year-on-year in April, slower than the 10.1 percent increase seen in March. Sales were forecast to climb 10 percent.

Another report from NBS showed that fixed asset investment climbed 7 percent during January to April following 7.5 percent increase in three months to March. This was also slower than the 7.4 percent rise economists had forecast.

In January to April period, property investment rose 10.3 percent compared to 10.4 percent increase in the first quarter.

Industrial activity was buoyed last month by the easing of pollution controls, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said. But there are signs in the rest of today's data that the broader economy is losing momentum.

Looking ahead, domestic spending is likely to continue to soften given the headwinds from slowing credit creation, the economist added. The recent resilience of industrial activity is likely to prove temporary, Evans-Pritchard noted.

Data showed that the urban unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in April from 5.1 percent in March.

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