This undated photo shows high-end aluminum alloy wheels being produced at a mill in Zouping, Shandong province. (CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING - Growth of China's factory output dropped a notch in July, but industrial upgrades continued as the country strove to move up the industrial value chain, data showed Monday.
Value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, grew 6.4 percent year on year in July, down from the 7.6-percent increase for June but up from the 6-percent rise for the same month of last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
At the same time, China's fixed-asset investment grew 8.3% year on year and retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4% year on year
NBS spokesperson Mao Shengyong attributed the slower growth, which he considered a reasonable and relatively sound pace of growth, to widespread heat waves, severe floods in southern provinces during the month and local governments' fresh efforts to cut industrial overcapacity. On a monthly basis, China's industrial production edged up 0.41 percent in July from the previous month.
For the first seven months, industrial production expanded 6.8 percent, a notch down from the 6.9-percent growth registered in the first half of the year. Industrial output, officially called industrial value added, is used to measure the activity of designated large enterprises with annual revenue of at least 20 million yuan (nearly US$3 million).
Mao said China's industrial sector has had generally stable performance, with evident progress in industrial upgrades, and the momentum would remain unchanged over the remaining months of the year. Output of high-tech industries rose 12.1 percent year on year in July, while that of equipment manufacturing sector climbed 10.7 percent, both exceeding that of the overall output growth.
The manufacturing output increased 6.7 percent, while output from suppliers of power, heating, fuel gas and water gained 9.8 percent. The mining sector, however, slipped 1.3 percent. Monday's data also showed fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 8.3 percent in the first seven months from 8.6 percent in the first half of the year, while the retail sales increase was down from 11 percent in June to 10.4 percent in July.
Fixed-asset investment growth slows
China's fixed-asset investment saw slower growth in the first seven months of this year, but the overall situation was "still steady," an official said Monday.
In the January-July period, fixed-asset investment grew 8.3 percent year on year, down from an expansion of 8.6 percent in the first half, the NBS said.
Total investment from January to July stood at 33.74 trillion yuan (about US$5.1 trillion).
Spokesperson Mao Shengyong attributed the slowdown mainly to hot days and floods in July that dragged the progress of outdoor projects.
"The trend of steady investment growth will not change," he said. However, the pace was 0.2 percentage point faster than the same period of 2016. "There was also a clear trend for better investment structure," Mao added.
Investment in traditional manufacturing sectors slowed, while that in the high-tech and equipment manufacturing sectors saw fast growth. Investment in environmental sectors surged more than 40 percent year on year, according to Mao. Investment in property development expanded 7.9 percent year on year in the first seven months of this year, down from 8.5 percent for the first half, the NBS said.
The bureau's calculation does not include investment made by farmers. It includes projects with planned investment of more than 5 million yuan, as well as all property development.
Retail sales up
China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year on year in July this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday. The pace was slower than the 11 percent for June, the NBS said in a statement.
Total retail sales of consumer goods hit 2.96 trillion yuan (about US$444.6 billion) last month, said the NBS. In the first seven months, China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year on year to 20.2 trillion yuan, according to the NBS.
The NBS attributed the growth partly to booming online sales, which surged 33.7 percent year on year in the first seven months, 0.3 percentage points higher than the first half. Physical goods sold online surged 28.9 percent year on year in the January-July period, accounting for 13.8 percent of total retail sales, up 2.2 percentage points from the same period last year.
Retail sales in rural areas rose 11.7 percent in July, outpacing the 10.2 percent expansion for urban areas. Booming retail sales are behind China's stabilizing economy, which grew 6.9 percent in the first half of this year. China is trying to shift its economy toward a growth model driven by consumer spending, innovation and services, while weaning it off over-reliance on exports and investment.