China economy stalls as factory output, retail sales growth slow

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China’s factory output and retail sales growth slowed sharply and missed expectations in July, as new COVID-19 outbreaks and floods disrupted business operations, adding to signs the economic recovery is losing momentum.

Industrial production in the world’s second-largest economy increased 6.4% year-on-year in July, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday. Analysts had expected output to rise 7.8% after growing 8.3% in June.

Retail sales increased 8.5% in July from a year earlier, far lower than the forecast 11.5% rise and June’s 12.1% uptick. China’s economy has rebounded to its pre-pandemic growth levels, but the expansion is losing steam as businesses grapple with higher costs and supply bottlenecks. New COVID-19 infections in July also led to fresh restrictions, disrupting the country’s factory output already hit by severe weather this summer.

Asian share markets slipped on Monday after the data showed a surprisingly sharp slowdown in the engine of global growth.

Fu Linghui, an NBS spokesperson, said at a briefing on Monday that China’s recovery remains uneven due to sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks and natural disasters.

“The domestic economic recovery still faces many challenges, and constraints on production increased,” said Mr. Fu.



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