Factory output growth in China slowed in April and retail sales missed expectations significantly, as officials warned of new problems that could affect the recovery of the world's second largest economy.
While Chinese exporters enjoy strong demand, global supply chain bottlenecks and rising raw material costs have weighed on production, calming the sharp economic recovery from the recession caused by the coronavirus last year.
Monday's National Bureau of Statistics data showed that factory output grew by 9.8% in April compared to a year ago, in line with expectations but slower than 14.1% in March. Meanwhile, retail sales, a major gauge of domestic consumption in China were disappointed as it rose by 17.7%, much weaker than expectations for a 24.9% increase and in the wake of March's data for 34.2% growth.
China's strong recovery from the Corona pandemic last year was largely driven by the rapid resumption of factories and government-led investment, while household spending has repeatedly fallen short of expectations. In a sign of weak domestic spending, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China - the highest decision-making body - said last month that the economic recovery remains uneven and has a less than solid.
China's GDP posted record year-on-year gains of 18.3% in the first quarter, giving a relatively light boost to Beijing's official growth target of "above 6%" for 2021.