Page last updated at 06:33 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

China production and retail rise

By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Shanghai

Gold shop, Anhui province, China, Nov 09
China's consumers appear to be spurring growth by spending more

The latest economic data from China suggests that industrial production grew year on year at a level faster than expected.

Retail sales also rose by more than analysts had predicted, while consumer prices continued to fall.

China's National Bureau of Statistics says the country's latest economic data shows it is well on track to meet its target of 8% growth this year.

The government's huge economic stimulus package is likely to have helped a lot.

The data indicates that activity in factories and workshops increased by 16.1% in October compared to a year ago.

Optimism

That is the highest level of growth since March last year.

China's statisticians are starting to sound more optimistic than they have done in a while.

Importantly, they see evidence in this latest data that Chinese consumers are starting to make more of a contribution to economic growth here.

Retail sales were higher in October than September.

China needs consumers to spend more to spur domestic demand for the goods its factories produce, as it is unlikely to be able to rely on US consumers in the years ahead in the same way that it could before the financial crisis.

The growth in activity in the country's factories and workshops beat analysts' forecasts too.

There was better news in October's trade figures though - the rate of decline in exports last month was the smallest in 10 months, supporting anecdotal evidence from producers that orders from customers abroad have been picking up for several weeks now.

China has been trying to boost domestic demand for the goods its factories make, as exports have been declining for 12 months now.

The supply of new loans was markedly lower than many analysts had expected, suggesting that banks had listened to concerns that the easy access to credit here was creating the risk of asset bubbles and put in place more stringent conditions for those trying to borrow money.



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