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Sept. 16, 2019, 2:39 a.m. EDT

China industrial output, retail sales fall short of expectations

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By Grace Zhu and Lin Zh


AFP/Getty Images
Employees work on a drilling machine production line at a factory in Zhangjiakou in China's northern Hebei province on November 14, 2018.

BEIJING — Economic activity in China cooled further in August, testing Beijing’s tolerance for slower growth as it seeks to ease trade tensions with the U.S.

Softness was visible last month in nearly every aspect of the Chinese economy, with industrial output and retail sales data pointing to sluggish demand and low confidence among businesses and consumers. Economists had been expecting economic activity to have recovered a little from July, when it fell to its lowest level in more than a decade.

Value-added industrial output in China rose 4.4% in August from a year earlier, far below economists’ expectations of 5.2% growth and slower than the 4.8% increase in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

Fixed-asset investment outside Chinese rural households climbed 5.5% in the January-August period from a year earlier, slightly below expectations. Retail sales in China rose 7.5% in August from a year earlier, a tick down from the 7.6% gain in July and below expectations for a 7.9% rise.

Read: ‘Very difficult’ for China’s economy to maintain 6% growth: report

An expanded version of this story can be found on WSJ.com

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