Chinese authorities published a barrage of major macroeconomic indicators yesterday. Contrary to the worst fears these were not all ‘doom and gloom’, thanks to a better than forecast reading on the foreign trade surplus, although they do make for a weak reading concerning internal Chinese demand.
Thus, in May exports grew at twice the pace expected by analysts, rising by 15.3% year-on-year, for a trade surplus of $18.7bn (Consensus: $16.5bn). Imports also grew at a faster than projected rate, of 12.7% year-on-year (Consensus: 5.5%), on the back of strong demand for oil and iron ore.
Industrial output increased 9.6% in May from a year earlier (Consensus: 9.9%); while retail sales grew 13.8% (Consensus: 14.3%), the least in almost six years.
Fixed-asset investment, excluding rural households, increased by 20% year to date in May, the smallest rise since 2001, although some in the markets seem to have been expecting slightly even worse data.
Consumer prices rose at a 3.0% year-on-year pace in May (Consensus: 3.2%), following a reading of 3.4% in April.