Beijing, June 15 (efe-epa).- China’s industrial output increased by 4.4 percent year-on-year in May, its second increase in 2020 after posting a growth of 3.9 percent in April, figures that suggest a recovery of the country’s economy following the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
However, the figure, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday, is below analysts’ forecasts, which had pointed to growth of about 5 percent for May.
Industrial production had plummeted 13.5 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2020 and declined by 1.1 percent in March before growing by 3.9 percent in April.
The growth of electricity, heat, gas and water production – which are among the three main categories the indicator is divided into – increased by 3.6 percent year-on-year in May with a slight rise of 0.2 percent in April.
In addition, manufacturing grew by 5.2 percent year-on-year in May against the 5 percent growth of the previous month while mining rose by 1.1 percent in May from the 0.3 percent increase in April.
The national statistics office also compared data from 41 industrial sub-sectors, of which 30 experienced an increase in activity in May compared with the same month in 2019.
Manufacturing of special machinery, computers and other electronic equipment, and vehicles increased year-on-year by 16.4 percent, 10.8 percent and 12.2 percent respectively.
The NBS also released data on other indicators on Monday, including retail sales, an important measure of consumer demand and one of the pillars of the change in the economic model proposed by Beijing.
Retail sales recorded a year-on-year fall of 2.8 percent in May, an improvement after the higher declines posted in April (-7.5 percent) and March (-15.8 percent).
On the other hand, fixed asset investment in the first five months of the year decreased by 6.3 percent as compared to the 10.3 percent decline in the indicator between January and April, according to the NBS.
British consultancy firm Capital Economics said there was reason to be optimistic.
“We had previously thought that China’s economy wouldn’t return to positive year-on-year growth until Q3. But today’s data suggest that this milestone may be reached this quarter and we will be revisiting our GDP forecasts shortly,” analyst Martin Rasmussen said.
“Services and consumption should benefit, too, as the construction boom will drive a rebound in high-paying migrant jobs,” he added.
In fact, the NBS said Monday that the labor market remained stable in May with an unemployment rate in urban areas of 5.9 percent, just 0.1 percent less than the previous month.
The NBS added that the data released on Monday was positive and showed that demand was continuing to rise and that the national economy was gradually recovering.
However, the agency warned that the stable performance of the Chinese economy still faced many risks and difficulties as the epidemic situation in the world remained serious. EFE-EPA