China's retail sales up 8.2 pct in Jan.-Feb

China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low but investment picks

More comments are crossing the wires from the Chinese stats bureau, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), as it expects the Chinese consumption to improve in March. In December it was 5.7%.

Data last week showed exports tumbled the most in three years in February, suggesting USA tariffs on Chinese goods and cooling global demand were taking a greater toll.

Expects economic growth to remain steady.

After deducting the holiday disturbance, industrial output for the January-February period went up by 6.1 percent year-on-year, higher than 5.7 percent in December, Mao said.

Growth in fixed-asset investment, a major growth driver in the past, quickened to 6.1 percent in the first two months of this year, slightly more than analysts had expected and edging up marginally from 5.9 percent in 2018.

Other data released on Thursday showed growth in China's industrial output fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year.

Tier-2 cities, which include most of the larger provincial capitals, increased 0.7 percent in February on a monthly basis, in line with the previous month, while in tier-3 cities they rose 0.4 percent, easing from 0.6 percent in January, the statistics bureau said.

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week laid out a lower growth target of 6-6.5% this year, from 6.6% growth in 2018, which was already the slowest pace for nearly three decades.

Consumer and business confidence has slipped over recent quarters in the wake of heightened economic uncertainty and a yet-unresolved Sino-U.S. trade dispute, discouraging residential investment.

An official factory survey showed manufacturing output contracted in February for the first time since January 2009, while factory-gate inflation in February hovered at multi-year lows, pointing to further pressure on industrial profits.

Beijing has tried to restart spending. This year's GDP growth target was set between 6 and 6.5 percent, according to the Government Work Report. Beijing has also become less anxious about cities easing existing curbs and is more concerned about the broader economic impact of the trade war with the United States.

In the January to February period, exports stood at 2.4 trillion yuan, while imports were 2.1 trillion yuan.

The two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, and China's exports and imports plummeted much more than expected in February.

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