China's industrial output growth slowed to 18% in July compared to the previous year after posting a 19.4% increase in June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Economists had predicted output growth of 19.2%. The slower-than-expected rate left some suggesting that China's trade surplus will finally begin to shrink in coming months, Reuters reported. The slowdown was said to be a result of cuts to tax rebates on nearly 3,000 export lines, including metals and textiles, on July 1, which has made Chinese exports relatively more expensive and therefore less attractive. Export growth itself actually accelerated in July as companies rushed to ship goods that been ordered before the tax changes were announced. The subsequent decline in output growth – the third month in a row that it has fallen – reflects a decline in overseas orders, which economists say is likely to result in slower export growth in the future.