China's August data points to steady economic recovery
The Chinese economy gained stronger traction last month, evident in various positive indicators such as robust factory production and improving consumer sentiment. These encouraging signs point toward a steady recovery.
Value-added industrial output went up 4.5 percent year on year in August, higher than 3.7 percent recorded in July, and retail sales of consumer goods reported a quicker 4.6-percent increase after a slowdown lasting three consecutive months, data from the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.
The service sector also gathered steam as its production index went up 6.8 percent, 1.1 percentage points faster than the previous month. The surveyed urban jobless rate was 5.2 percent, lower than 5.3 percent in July.
"The economy has seen sound recovery with solid progress in high-quality development," NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui told a press conference Friday, noting that major indicators improved and positive factors accumulated.
Analysts believe improvements can be seen across the board.
Both factories and services warmed up and rebounds were seen in consumption, investment, and exports, Wen Bin, chief economist of China Minsheng Bank, said. "The economy is climbing out of the previous trough and starting to pick up gradually."
Services emerged as an important growth driver. In the first eight months, service consumption surged 19.4 percent from a year ago driven by contact-based services, in particular the accommodation and catering sector.
Investment in key fields maintained rapid expansion as funds put into infrastructure and manufacturing rose 6.4 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively, in the January-August period.
Consumer prices returned to growth in August and the decline of producer prices narrowed for two months in a row, indicating better supply-demand balance.
Fu also highlighted continued industrial upgrades at the press conference. In August, the output of service robots and civil aircraft surged 73.7 percent and 33.3 percent, respectively, suggesting a strengthened innovation impetus. The vibrant development of new energy vehicles, clean energy, and the digital economy indicated the country's expedited green drive.
The upswing in August data came as a range of government measures, designed to expand domestic demand, build up confidence and fend off risks, continued to take effect.
Recently, China also adjusted policies on the property sector to better meet people's housing demand and rolled out more measures to invigorate the private economy, which observers said were conducive to consolidating growth momentum, improving market expectations, and promoting economic recovery.
However, there are still challenges for the country, which faces a lackluster global economy and domestic structural problems and needs to further consolidate its economic recovery.
China's central bank announced Thursday a decision to cut the reserve requirement ratio for lenders by 0.25 percentage points. The move aimed at bolstering the economy is expected to pump over 500 billion yuan (US$69.65 billion) into the market, thereby reducing the financing costs of market entities.
Looking forward, despite challenges, China's economic recovery will be maintained and its development quality will continue to improve, Fu said.