China's industrial output in May was weaker than expected

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Workers assemble televisions on the production line of Tianle Group Co., Ltd on July 3, 2012 in Shengzhou of Zhejiang Province, China.

China’s industrial output grew 6.8 percent in May from a year earlier, missing expectations, while fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 6.1 percent in the first five months, well below forecasts, official data showed on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would dip only slightly to 6.9 percent from 7.0 percent in April.

Fixed-asset investment growth had been expected to remain steady at 7.0 percent in the first five months of the year, the same pace as in January-April.

Private sector fixed-asset investment rose 8.1 percent in January-May, compared with an increase of 8.4 percent in the first four months. Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China.

Retail sales also missed expectations, rising 8.5 percent in May from a year earlier, versus expectations of an increase of 9.6 percent and compared with a rise of 9.4 percent in April.

Despite stronger-than-expected first-quarter growth, analysts polled by Reuters still expect China’s economic growth to cool gradually this year to around 6.5 percent, even if there are no direct shocks from its trade dispute with Washington.

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