China’s industrial production growth came in at 7.3% in April, down from 8.3% the previous month, the Financial Times reported. The sense of weakness was compounded by equally disappointing electricity production figures, often regarded as a proxy for economic growth. Electricity generation declined by 3.5%, compared with a 1.3% decline in March. Analysts said the apparent paradox of growing factory output and falling electricity production could be explained by particular weakness in energy-intensive heavy industries. China’s crude steel output fell 4% year-on-year in April. Meanwhile, Retail sales were more encouraging, rising 14.8% year-on-year to US$137 billion. This is nearly identical to the growth rate seen in March. However, analysts cautioned that strong government procurement might be behind the continued growth rather than actual consumer demand. They expect retail sales to moderate in coming months due to falling incomes and the waning impact of government incentive programs.