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China investment growth falls to new record low in August; industrial output, retail sales up

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China's fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 5.3 per cent in the first eight months of the year, below forecasts and hitting a new record low, data showed on Friday.

[BEIJING] China's fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 5.3 per cent 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 per cent in August from a year earlier, and retail sales rose 9.0 per cent, both beating expectations.

Investment growth had been expected at 5.5 per cent 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 per cent, in line with July.

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

Private investment accounts for about 60 per cent of overall investment in China.

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

With US 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.

REUTERS