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China's Industrial Production Rises Most Since Mid-2017


China's industrial production expanded the most since mid-2017 and retail sales grew strongly, suggesting that the economy sustained robust growth at the start of the year.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that industrial output climbed 7.2 percent year-on-year in January to February period, while growth was seen at 6.2 percent, the same as in December.

This was the biggest expansion since last June, when output gained 7.6 percent.

At the same time, retail sales growth accelerated to 9.7 percent in January to February period. Economists had forecast 10 percent growth after climbing 9.4 percent in December.

During first two months of 2018, fixed asset investment logged an annual growth of 7.9 percent. In the same period of last year, growth stood at 8.9 percent. The expected rate of growth was 7 percent.

Likewise, property investment advanced 9.9 percent in January to February period compared to 8.9 percent in the corresponding of 2017.

Today's data suggest that the Chinese economy had a strong start to the year, Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

However, with the current strength of property investment clearly unsustainable and the headwinds from slowing credit growth and tighter fiscal policy still building, this latest improvement in the activity data is set to prove short-lived, the economist added.

The government targets around 6.5 percent economic growth for 2018. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development forecast China's economic growth to soften to 6.7 percent this year and to 6.4 percent by 2019.

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