Chinese industrial production and urban fixed asset investment had a strong start to 2018, with growth for both measures coming in above estimates.
Industrial production grew 7.2 per cent year on year in the first two months of 2018, the fastest pace of growth since June 2017, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. That figure was up from 6.2 per cent growth in the previous month and came in comfortably above a median estimate of 6.1 per cent growth.
Urban fixed-asset investment, meanwhile, rose 7.9 per cent in the first two months of 2018, climbing from 7.2 per cent growth in December. Economists had forecast 7 per cent growth. Investment by state-controlled firms to the end of February grew 9.2 per cent while that for the private sector rose 8.1 per cent.
Chinese consumers were also reaching for their wallets more frequently at the start of the year. Retail sales grew 9.7 per cent year on year in the first two months of the year, edging higher from 9.4 per cent growth in December.
That was just short of a median estimate of 9.8 per cent growth from economists surveyed by Reuters. Sales at larger businesses grew 8.3 per cent while online sales jumped 35.6 per cent.
Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist for Capital Economics said:
We have argued for some time that a rebound in activity early this year seemed likely as the anti-pollution campaign is paired back. But with the current strength of property investment clearly unsustainable and the headwinds from slowing credit growth and tighter fiscal policy still building, we expect this latest improvement in the activity data to prove short-lived.