China's data dump has missed across the board for April

Photo: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Maintaining the pattern of those releases before it, Chinese industrial output, retail sales and fixed asset investment — known in markets as China’s “data dump” — have missed across the board in April.

Industrial output grew by 6.0% from 12 months earlier according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, down on the 6.8% pace seen in March and expectations for an increase of 6.5%.

Retail sales also underwhelmed, increasing 10.1% year-on-year. It too was below the 10.5% pace of March, the same figure that had been forecast by economists.

Completing the trio of data misses, urban fixed asset investment rose by 10.5% between January to April compared to the same period a year earlier, below the 10.7% pace seen in the three months to March and expectations for a further acceleration to 10.9%.

The across-the-board weakness, particularly in industrial output and fixed asset investment, indicates that the sharp acceleration in construction activity seen in March may already be petering out.

Indeed, credit data for April released separately by the People’s Bank of China on Friday evening also disappointed, adding weight to this notion.

New bank lending fell to 555.6 billion yuan, well below the 1.37 trillion yuan figure of March and expectations for a decline to 900 billion yuan.

As a result of the slowdown, outstanding annual loan growth slowed to 14.4% from 14.7% reported previously.

Total social financing — the broadest measure of liquidity that captures lending from non-traditional sources — also disappointed, dropping to 751 billion yuan from 2.34 trillion yuan in March.

Broad money growth, or M2, also weakened, growing 12.8% year-on-year from 13.4% in March, the slowest annual increase seen since June 2015.

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