Consumer situation improves as factory output rises
China's economy held steady in May as industrial production continued to grow, overseas trade gathered pace and domestic investment slowed while its structure improved, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday.
"China's economic performance in May was stable in general and showed signs of improvement," NBS spokeswoman Liu Aihua said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Judging from the economic data, China won't experience a typical inflection point ... The country's economy is not as bad as many people expected," said Liu Dongliang, a senior analyst at China Merchants Bank.
Value-added industrial output rose 6.5 percent year-on-year in May, the same rate as in April and slightly up from 6 percent growth in May 2016, according to data from the NBS. In the first five months of this year, output rose 6.7 percent.
Considering that industrial production wasn't depressed by a slower gain in the Producer Price Index (PPI) in May, the industrial sector is "relatively robust," Liu told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The PPI, which measures price changes for major commodities at the wholesale level, rose 5.5 percent year-on-year in May, slowing from 6.4 percent in April.
Trade data showed signs of robust growth. In May, total trade surged by 18.3 percent year-on-year to 2.35 trillion yuan (6 billion), up from 16.2 percent growth in April.
Retail sales were up 10.7 percent year-on-year in May to 2.95 trillion yuan, unchanged from April and up from 10 percent growth in May 2016.
E-commerce revenues jumped 32.5 percent year-on-year from January to May, compared with 32 percent growth in the first four months.
Other signs of improvement included a modest rise in consumer prices and a better employment situation, Liu noted. From January to May, 5.99 million new jobs were created in cities and towns, up by 220,000 from the same period last year. Consumer inflation rose 1.5 percent in May, mildly up from 1.2 percent in April.
There were also some signs of weakness. Fixed-assets investment rose 8.6 percent year-on-year in the first five months, down from 8.9 percent growth from January to April.
Real estate investment grew 8.8 percent year-on-year from January to May, down from 9.3 percent growth in the first four months.
Liu said that as the domestic economy remains relatively healthy, intensifying management and deleveraging will continue to be the focus of government policy in the future.