(Yicai Global) Sept. 14 -- Mixed economic data released today indicates that China maintained stable upward momentum through August, despite the country's acute structural imbalance and a complicated external environment, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NBS released a series of macro-economic data that showed solid growth in retail sales but waning gains in property and other investment.
In recent years, the world's second-largest economy has relied more on consumption than investment to spur expansion. Retail sales grew faster than expected last month, with consumer goods accounting for nearly CNY3.2 trillion (USD460 billion), up 9 percent on the year and 0.2 point faster than the previous month, the data showed. Chief economists surveyed by Yicai Global had expected an average figure of 8.75 percent.
Over the first eight months, retail sales gained 9.3 percent, the same as in the first seven. But online shopping continued to expand rapidly, with web sales surging just over 28 percent to CNY5.5 trillion. Sales of physical goods through the internet totaled CNY4.2 trillion to make up 17.3 percent of the combined online and offline figure, or 3.5 percentage points more than a year earlier.
Industrial value added also narrowly beat expectations, rising 6.1 percent in August to top both July's expansion and forecasts by 0.1 point. Over the first eight months, industrial value added grew 6.5 percent on the year, slightly lower than the first seven months.
However, high-end manufacturing bucked the trend, with high-tech growing 11 percent and equipment and strategic emerging industries both advancing 8.8 percent. Yields of new-energy vehicles, industrial robots and integrated circuits leapt 56 percent, 19.4 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively.
Another critical factor in China's economic growth, investment, slowed over the first eight months. Some CNY41.5 trillion (USD6 trillion) of state money was pumped into fixed assets, up 5.3 percent on the year but 0.2 point lower than the rate over the first seven months, and missing a 5.52 percent average prediction from chief economists surveyed by Yicai Global. Private investments tallied CNY26 trillion, up 8.7 percent.
Real estate purchases also waned. Through August, national investments in property were close to CNY7.7 trillion, up 10.1 percent on the year but 0.1 point lower than the year through July.
The area of housing sold nationwide reached over a billion square meters, up 4 percent, while the value of sales came close to CNY9 trillion, a 14.5 percent gain.
Editor: James Boynton