September 14, 2018 / 2:04 AM / a year ago

China Aug investment growth falls to new record low, industrial output, retail sales up

BEIJING, Sept 14 (Reuters) - China’s fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 5.3 percent in the first eight months of the year, below forecasts and hitting a new record low, data showed on Friday.

But industrial output grew 6.1 percent in August from a year earlier, and retail sales rose 9.0 percent, both beating expectations.

Investment growth had been expected at 5.5 percent in the first eight months of the year, matching a record low in January-July.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would remain at 6.0 percent, in line with July.

Private sector fixed-asset investment rose 8.7 percent in January-August, compared with an increase of 8.8 percent in the first seven months, according to official data.

Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China.

Analysts had expected retail sales to rise 8.8 percent, unchanged from the growth rate in July.

With U.S. trade duties threatening to ratchet up pressure on China’s already slowing economy, its policymakers have shifted focus in recent months to growth-boosting measures, from ramping up infrastructure spending to cutting taxes and fees.

But analysts say such measures will take time to kick in, and will likely only cushion the blow on businesses if Washington continues to pile on more tariffs. (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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