Chinese industrial production, retail sales and urban fixed asset investment figures for April have just been released and they’ve all come in below expectations.
Industrial production rose by 5.9% from a year earlier, higher than the 5.6% level of March but below expectations for an increase of 6.0%.
Retail sales, having fallen to a multi-year low previously, continued to trend lower, increasing 10% year-on-year. The figure was below the 10.2% level of March and well short of expectations for an acceleration to 10.5%.
Urban fixed asset investment, as it has done since the start of 2013, fell sharply. It increased 12% year on year, below the 13.5% pace of March, with the figure the lowest seen in at least the past two decades.
In February and March the weakness in the data was blamed on the timing of Lunar New Year celebrations. No such excuse can be used on this occasion. While any nation around the world would still envy growth figures of this magnitude, by China’s lofty standards, it is horrible.
So far for April, including today’s data, CPI, international trade and manufacturing PMI figures have all missed expectations.
There is a clear trend in the data. The economy is slowing, and fast.
While monetary easing has certainly provided a sugar hit to China’s stock market, as witnessed in other more advanced economies before them, its impact on the real economy so far seems limited at best.
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