China's Industrial Output Slows In July

Growth in China's industrial output eased slightly in July, official data showed Aug. 15, pointing to a very mild cooling in the otherwise white-hot Chinese economy. Industrial output for state-owned and large non-state enterprises rose 16.7% to 720 billion yuan (US$90 billion) in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

In the first seven months of the year output was up 17.6% compared with the same period in 2005, with enterprises pumping out 4.69 trillion yuan worth of goods. The rise in July compared with growth of 19.5% year-on-year in June, while in the first six months to end-June output expanded 17.7% to 3.97 trillion yuan, according to previous figures.

In a breakdown of the industrial data for specific industries, chemicals were up 18.8 % while general purpose machinery production jumped 22.2%. Transportation equipment makers made 18.5% more while the production of electric equipment was up 14.8 %. Communication equipment such as computers increased 19.7%.

"There are some signs that the central bank tightening which has been in place for the last few months is showing some effect. What would be more interesting to see would be the slowdown in fixed asset investment, without which we do not see any pause in central bank tightening," said Prakash Sakpal, an economist at ING Barings in Singapore.

In another set of numbers released on Aug. 15, foreign direct investment in July fell 5.49% to $4.279 billion from a year ago, while for the first seven months since January it fell 1.16% to $32.71 billion.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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