China sees strong industrial, retail growth in November

China posted better-than-expected economic data for November on Monday, giving further breathing space to Beijing after the country agreed a partial trade deal with the US last week.

A truce in the lingering US-China trade war resulted in a pared-down “phase one” deal announced on Friday, although it has yet to be signed.

China’s industrial production increased by 6.2 percent in November year-on-year, up from 4.7 percent last month and the highest level in six months.

There was also positive news for the country’s retailers, with total retail sales up by 8.0 percent in November, a boost from 7.2 percent growth in October.

The figures exceeded expectations, with analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicting just 5.0 percent growth in industrial production and 7.6 percent in retail sales.

Fu Linghui, spokesman at the National Bureau of Statistics, said the key economic indicators “performed better than expected” in the “face of mounting risks and challenges both at home and abroad”.

But he warned there was still “downward pressure” on the Chinese economy due to “increasing external instabilities and uncertainties”.

Investment in fixed capital remained unchanged in November compared to the previous month at 5.2 percent, in line with Bloomberg analyst forecasts.

In November, Chinese shoppers set new records for spending during the annual “Singles’ Day” buying spree, with e-commerce giant Alibaba saying consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms during the world’s biggest 24-hour shopping event.

The figure was up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.

China’s economy is in an extended slowdown exacerbated by the US trade war, and the Singles’ Day fire sale is viewed as a snapshot of consumer sentiment in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Growth in the Chinese economy slowed to six percent in the third quarter — its most sluggish rate in nearly three decades — as demand for exports cooled and Chinese consumers tightened their belts.

© 2019 AFP

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