China's Jan-Feb property investment accelerates despite cooling sales

China Gas Holdings

After deducting price factors, the indicator grew 7.1 percent in real terms, accelerating from December's 6.6-percent rise, NBS spokesperson Mao Shengyong said at a press conference.

China is grappling with a decline in global demand - most notably from the USA, which launched a trade war a year ago.

China's industrial output slowed during the first two months of the year as unemployment rose, official data showed today.

Xining, the capital of Qinghai province in central China by the Tibetan Plateau, was the top performer last month with a monthly price increase of 2.3 percent.

Average daily steel output over the two months reached 2.54 million tonnes, up from 2.46 million tonnes in December and 2.32 million tonnes in the same months previous year, according to Reuters calculations based on official data.

China's fixed asset investment (or FAI) rose by 6.1%, which was in line with economists' expectations. Retail sales rose 9 percent from one year earlier to 38.1 trillion yuan (about 5.7 trillion USA dollars) in 2018.

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Pressured by weak demand at home and overseas, China's industrial output rose 5.3 percent in January-February, less than expected and the slowest pace since early 2002. They raised 2.45 trillion yuan ($365.38 billion) in the first two months of the year, up 2.1 percent from the same period last year, slower than the 6.4 percent rise in the full year of 2018, the NBS said.

Data on Thursday showed China's property investment quickened in the January-February period driven by strong demand in smaller cities. The agency failed to provide monthly breakdowns of the output because of the week-long celebration of the Lunar New Year Holiday in early February.

China's state planner announced measures in January to boost consumption of goods ranging from eco-friendly appliances to big-ticket items such as cars, but the size and scope of the subsidy scheme is still unclear.

In addition to fiscalstimulus such as higher local government spending and tax cuts, more monetary policy support is also expected this year. This year's GDP growth target was set between 6 and 6.5 percent, according to the Government Work Report. But sources have told Reuters that a benchmark interest rate cut is considered a last resort if other measures fail to stem the broader economic decline.

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

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