Chinese Industrial Production Growth Slows in September; Urban Investment and Retail Sales Improve

Growth in Chinese industrial production weakened unexpectedly in September, while broad measures of consumer spending and fixed-asset investment improved, painting a mixed picture of the world’s second-largest economy at the end of the third quarter.

Industrial production, a broad measure of factory output, rose at an annualized 6.1% in September from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Wednesday in Beijing. Industrial production rose 6.3% in August.

Retail sales, a gauge of private and government spending, rose 10.7% year-on-year, following an August increase of 10.6%.

A separate gauge of annual fixed-asset investment, a proxy for long-term spending, increased 8.2% in the January-September period. Urban investment held near 16-year lows in the year to August.

Economists forecast industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment to each grow 0.1 percentage point faster in September.

The statistics bureau also reported Wednesday that gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at an annualized 6.7% in the third quarter, following a 6.7% increase in each of the first two quarters. Analysts forecast a 6.7% uptick. While the rate is within Beijing’s annual target range, analysts expect growth to moderate heading into 2017. Growth cooled to a 25-year low in 2015.

China’s slowdown has been largely attributed to weak global demand and a shrinking industrial sector, which according to 2014 calculations still represented about a third of economic output. Consumer spending, which is meant to help offset slowdowns in heavy industrial manufacturing, has been growing at a double-digit annual pace for years. However, that growth has slowed significantly since 2013.

Sam Bourgi is a financial market analyst for He has more than six years of progressive experience in economic and financial analysis, research consulting and sectoral analysis. As a published author in government, peer-reviewed, online and industry sources, he has developed a fundamental approach to the financial markets with a broad focus on stock indices, commodities and the technology sector. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Windsor and Master’s degree from McMaster University.