May 15, 2017 / 2:09 AM / a year ago

RPT-China April factory output rises 6.5 pct y/y, investment up 8.9 pct; miss expectations

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BEIJING, May 15 (Reuters) - China’s factory output growth cooled, rising 6.5 percent in April from a year earlier, while fixed-asset investment grew 8.9 percent in the first four months this year - both outcomes were worse than expectations.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted factory output would grow by 7.1 percent in April, easing from March’s over 2-year high rate of 7.6 percent.

Fixed asset investment had been forecast to grow 9.1 percent over the first four months of the year, easing from 9.2 percent in Jan-April.

Retail sales rose 10.7 percent in April from a year earlier. Analysts had forecasted they would rise 10.6 percent, edging lower from the previous period’s 10.9 percent growth.

Private investment growth slowed to 6.9 percent in January-April period from 7.7 percent in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday, suggesting small- and medium-sized private firms still face tough access to financing.

Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China.

China is targeting growth of around 9 percent in fixed asset investment for 2017, and expects retail sales to increase about 10 percent.

The country’s first quarter economic growth at 6.9 percent was the strongest since 2015, bolstered by higher government infrastructure spending and a gravity defying property boom.

China has cut its economic growth target to around 6.5 percent this year to give policymakers more room to push through painful reforms and contain financial risks after years of debt-fueled stimulus. (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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