The latest figures came in as the Communist Party holds its five-yearly congress to decide the leadership team around President Xi Jinping and the party's direction for the next half-decade and beyond.
From January to September 2017, non-farm fixed asset investment in China went up 7.5 percent year-on-year to CNY 458,478 billion, easing from a 7.8 percent in the first eight months of the year and missing market expectations of 7.7 percent. It was the weakest gain in fixed asset investment since January to December 1999, as private investment growth eased to 6 percent from 6.4 percent in January-August 2017, and public investment rose 11 percent, also below 11.2 percent in the previous period.
By industry, fixed investment increased at a softer rate for power (1.7 percent from 2.6 percent in January-August) and railway transport (0.5 percent from 4.2 percent), and contracted for ferrous metal mining (-23.5 percent from -22.3 percent), non-ferrous metal mining (-20.8 percent from -20.4 percent) and non-metal mineral mining (-13.7 percent from -10.9 percent). By contrast, investment in oil and gas extraction jumped 12.4 percent, following a 6.9 percent gain until August.
In September, industrial production rose 6.6 percent year-on-year, following a 6.0 percent gain in the prior month and beating market expectations of 6.2 percent. It was the steepest increase in industrial production since June, as output grew further for both manufacturing (8.1 percent from 6.9 percent in August) and electricity, gas and water production (7.8 percent from 8.7 percent). On the other hand, mining production continued to decline (-3.8 percent from -3.4 percent). On a monthly basis, industrial production grew by 0.56 percent.
Retail sales rose 10.3 percent from a year earlier in September, following a 10.1 percent increase in the previous month and slightly above market consensus of 10.2 percent. Sales went up at faster for: Oil, oil products (8.5 percent from 4.5 percent in August); building materials (9.5 percent from 8.8 percent); furniture (15.5 percent from 11.3 percent); and personal care (7.8 percent from 7.0 percent). Meantime, sales increased at a softer rate for: garments (6.2 percent from 8.9 percent); cosmetics (13.4 percent from 14.7 percent); jewelry (5.3 percent from 6.4 percent); home appliances (6.8 percent from 8.4 percent); office supplies (4.4 percent from 5.8 percent); and telecoms (3.8 percent from 12.2 percent). Sales of automobiles grew 7.9 percent, the same pace as in August. On a monthly basis, retail sales rose 0.9 percent.
On a quarterly basis, the economy advanced by 1.7 percent in the third quarter of 2017
Figures released earlier showed exports increased by 8.1 percent year-on-year to USD 198.3 billion, following a 5.5 percent rise in the prior month but below estimates of an 8.8 percent growth. Imports rose 18.7 percent to USD 169.8 billion, after a 13.3 percent rise a month earlier and higher than market consensus of a 13.5 percent rise.
For 2017, the Chinese government expects the economy to grow by around 6.5 percent, slightly below last year's 26-year low of 6.7 percent. Regarding property sectors, Beijing's efforts to slash debt levels and curb property speculation started to show an effect on overall growth.
, compared to an upwardly revised 1.8 percent expansion in the previous three months and in line with market estimates.