There were more disappointments in China's latest round of economic data

He Kexin falls off of the uneven bars during Olympic qualification for the women’s artistic gymnastics. (Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images)
  • The latest round of Chinese economic data missed across the board.
  • July data for retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment all missed expectations.
  • China’s National Bureau of Statistics said the current environment was “severe and complex”.

Global markets got an update on China’s economy today via a triple-shot of key data releases: retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment.

And the results whiffed across the board, as all three data prints missed expectations in July.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), annual retail sales growth rose by 8.8% — down from 9% in the previous month and missing expectations of a 9.1% rise.

Growth in industrial output rose by 6% (forecast 6.3%), and urban fixed asset investment climbed by 5.5% over the period from January to July, against expected growth of 6%.

Growth in fixed asset investment remains at the weakest level since 1996, according to Reuters data.

A short time ago, China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index was trading flat after falling by around 0.5% in morning trade.

In a statement accompanying the data release, the NBS said China’s economy remained generally steady in July.

“However, we must be fully aware of the severe and complex environment both at home and abroad, as well as the lurking uncertainties behind the stable economy,” the NBS said.

In addition to US tariffs, Chinese authorities have also been focused on reducing debt levels in China’s economy and curbing excessive house price rises in some markets.

Speculation about increased regulatory restrictions has given rise to bouts of volatility in China’s CSI300 real estate index over recent weeks.

However, data released by the NBS today suggests that activity levels in China’s real estate market remain robust.

Growth in property investment rose by 10.2% in annual terms over the period from January to July.

According to Reuters calculations based off the NBS data, property investment growth is now at the highest level since October 2016.

In addition, new construction starts in July rose by 32.4% in annual terms — the fastest rate of growth since October 2014, Reuters said.

Elsewhere, the NBS said coal output was down 2% year-on-year in July, while crude steel output increased by 7.2%.

China’s total crude oil output fell by 2.6%, and the NBS said daily crude oil production fell to the lowest level since at least June 2011.

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