China industrial output rises 4.8% year-on-year in June; retail sales, investment fall

FILE PHOTO: Employees wearing face masks work at a factory of the component maker SMC during a government organised tour of its facility following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China May 13, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s industrial output rose 4.8% in June from a year earlier, data showed Thursday, expanding for the third straight month and offering some relief to an economy trying to regain its footing from the shock of the coronavirus outbreak earlier in the year.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected growth to quicken slightly to 4.7% year-on-year, from gains of 4.4% gain in May and 3.9% in April, as more businesses resumed production after the easing of lockdowns put in place to contain the virus which emerged in China late last year.

Retail sales fell 1.8% on-year, much worse than a predicted 0.3% growth, after a 2.8% drop in May.

Sales fell for five straight months as shops, restaurants and other crowded places closed during the pandemic. Though strict containment measures have been relaxed, consumer demand has not responded correspondingly in a sign of the far reaching impact of the coronavirus.

Fixed asset investment fell 3.1% in the first half of the year from the same period last year, compared with a forecast 3.3% fall and a 6.3% decline in the first five months of the year.

Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Shri Navaratnam