BEIJING: China’s industrial output grew 6.6% in November year-on-year, faster than the 4.6% gain in October, and retail sales rose but missed forecasts, adding to signs Beijing’s recent flurry of stimulus is helping stabilise the economy.
The data on output released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) exceeded analysts’ expectations for a 5.6% rise in a Reuters poll and made it the strongest growth since September 2022.
Retail sales rose 10.1% in November, accelerating from a 7.6% increase in October. Analysts had expected retail sales to leap 12.5% mainly due to the low base effect in 2022 when COVID curbs disrupted consumers and businesses.
Fixed asset investment expanded 2.9% in the first 11 months of 2023 from the same period a year earlier, missing expectations for a 3% rise. It grew 2.9% in the January-October period.
China’s raft of policy support measures over recent months has begun to stabilise some parts of the world’s second-biggest economy, but a long-running property crisis, a slowdown in global growth and geopolitical tensions remain a drag on broad activity.
Friday’s data follows other November indicators that show the economy struggling for momentum. Imports grew for the first time in six months, but analysts attributed this to manufacturers offering unsustainable discounts and imports contracted again. Consumer prices fell at the fastest in three years and factory deflation deepened.
The patchy recovery has prompted analysts to warn that China may decline into Japanese-style stagnation later this decade unless policymakers take steps to reorient the economy towards household consumption and market-allocation of resources.
Policy advisers say the government will need to implement further stimulus should it wish to sustain an annual economic growth target of “around 5%” next year, which would match this year’s goal.
On Tuesday, top leaders said they would step up policy adjustments to support economic recovery in 2024, with a focus on boosting domestic demand given the slowdown in the global economy.