Retail sales on the mainland for the first two months of 2023 swung back to growth, but factory activity expanded more slowly than expected, suggesting the bruised economy still needs time to fully emerge from pandemic damage.
Industrial output in the January-February period was 2.4 percent higher than a year earlier, data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday, slightly missing expectations for a 2.6 percent gain in a Reuters poll. The reading accelerated from a 1.3 percent annual rise in December.
Retail sales in the first two months jumped 3.5 percent, reversing a 1.8 percent annual fall seen in December. The result was in line with analysts' expectation.
The NBS publishes combined January and February data to smooth out distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holiday.
Officials also said the nation would be able to achieve its annual inflation target of around three percent for 2023 despite some pressures.
The NBS, meanwhile, vowed to step up support to stabilise employment across the country.
The government prioritised economic growth and employment in a work report delivered to the National People's Congress meeting, which wrapped up on Monday. Authorities set a goal of creating around 12 million urban jobs this year, up from last year's target of at least 11 million.
In the first two months, the nationwide survey-based urban jobless rate climbed to 5.6 percent from 5.5 percent in December.
Employment was basically stable, and seasonal factors had caused the rise in the jobless rate for February, NBS spokesman Fu Linghui told reporters. (Reuters)