China's industrial output slows, unemployment rises

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low but investment picks

Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.1 percent year-on-year in the combined January to February period, compared with 5.9 percent for the whole of 2018, the NBS said on Thursday.

Prices growth in China's four top-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou - rose 0.3 percent from a month earlier, slowing from a 0.4 percent gain in January, the statistics bureau said in a statement accompanying the data.

Retail sales had been expected to rise 8.1 percent, easing marginally from December's 8.2 percent pace.

But investment picked up speed as the government fast-tracked more road and rail projects, offering some relief for policymakers as they work to avert a sharper slowdown, data showed on Thursday.

China's economy suffered past year as a debt-cutting campaign and a trade war with the USA drove its growth to the lowest level since 1990.

In January and February auto sales continued to fall and manufacturing activity sunk.

China's domestic demand to remain steady. Fixed-asset investment rose 6.1 percent in the first two months, from 5.9 percent in 2018.

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China's unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in January and February from 4.9% in December, reports the South China Morning Post, citing figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.

An official factory survey showed manufacturing output contracted in February for the first time since January 2009, while factory-gate inflation in February hovered at multi-year lows, pointing to further pressure on industrial profits. The statistical agency did not provide monthly breakdowns because of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday that fell in early February.

Real estate investment, which mainly focuses on the residential sector but also includes commercial and office space, is a key driver of growth for the world's second-largest economy.

The latest data showed growth in retail sales for January-February remained flat from December, rising 8.2% year-on-year and slightly above forecasts from economists polled by Bloomberg News.

But sales of appliances and furniture softened considerably early in the year, possibly linked to a 3.6 percent drop in home sales.

"The growth trend of the modern service industry is relatively good", Mao said, adding that information transmission, software and information technology industries maintained a high growth rate of 26.5 percent.

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