China’s economy seemed to stabilize in October as retail sales rose and energy shortages eased, somewhat offsetting a slump in property, reports Caixin. Industrial output rose 3.5% year-on-year in October and retail sales growth increased to 4.9%, beating economists’ forecasts. Growth in fixed-asset investment eased to 6.1% in the first 10 months of the year, compared with a forecast of 6.2%. The surveyed jobless rate was steady at 4.9%.
The better-than-expected numbers will come as a relief after the economy’s momentum weakened in the second half of the year, with both demand and supply coming under pressure. Beijing’s crackdown on the property market has slowed lending to a sector that accounts for as much as 25% of GDP, while energy shortages have caused factories to curb production.
“The national economy was generally stable and maintained the trend of recovery,” the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement. “However, we must be aware that the international environment is still complicated and severe with many unstable and uncertain factors.”
Electricity shortages, which had been a key constraint on industrial output in September, eased last month, with power supply climbing 11.1% in October from a year earlier. The property slump continued to weigh on output though, with production of construction-related commodities, such as steel and iron, contracting. Separate data from the NBS showed home prices fell 0.25% in October from the previous month, a bigger decline than in September.