China factory output, retail sales post weak growth

China’s factory and retail sectors faltered in August with output and sales growth hitting one-year lows as fresh coronavirus outbreaks and supply disruptions threatened the country’s impressive economic recovery.

Industrial production rose 5.3 percent in August from a year earlier, narrowing from an increase of 6.4 percent in July and marking the weakest pace since July 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

Output growth missed the 5.8 percent increase tipped by analysts.

Consumer spending also took a big hit from rising local Covid-19 cases and floods with sales rising only 2.5 percent in August from a year ago, much lower than the forecast 7 percent rise and the slowest clip since August last year.

“Recent economic data reflected the overall demand is still weak in the economy, vulnerable to sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks, but some sectors have been overheated, judging from the persistently high commodity prices,” said Nie Wen, Shanghai-based economist at Hwabao Trust.

“Policymakers will face a dilemma in terms of how to respond to a situation like this.”

Supply chain bottlenecks, semiconductor shortages, curbs on high-polluting industries and the crackdown on the property sector have disrupted activity in the world’s second-biggest economy. (Reuters)