Chinese economy defies slowdown

Business | Reuters and Avery Chen 18 Apr 2019

China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the first quarter from a year earlier while China's real estate investment rose 11.8 percent, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.

GDP grew 1.4 percent, as expected, but dipped from 1.5 percent in October-December.

Growth sharply jumped in industrial production, which surged 8.5 percent last month, the fastest in over 4 years.

Real estate investment rose 11.8 percent in the first three quarter from the same period last year, quickening slightly from a 11.6 percent gain in the January-February period. The pace marked the fastest quarterly growth since 2014.

Retail sales rose 8.7 percent in March, beating estimates of 8.4 percent and the previous 8.2.

Meanwhile, China's central bank yesterday lent 200 billion yuan (HK$234 billion) to financial institutions via its one-year medium-term lending facility, with the interest rate unchanged.

Chinese onshore yuan strengthened 215 basis points to about 6.68587 against the US dollar, hitting a seven-month high.

Elsewhere, pork manufacturers stocks surged with WH Group (0288), the world's largest pork company, rising 5.11 percent to HK$9.25 with a market turnover of HK$848.19 million, hitting over a one-year high yesterday.

This comes after an agriculture ministry official said pork prices are expected to jump more than 70 percent in the second half, and Beijing would likely lift a ban on US poultry as part of a trade deal and may buy more pork to meet a growing supply deficit.

That comes as China Unicom (0762) released the first batch of 5G terminals, including 15 5G smartphones from 12 brands and 5G customer premise equipment, it said in a Weibo posting yesterday.

The 12 smartphone suppliers consist of Huawei, Xiaomi (1810), ZTE (0763), OPPO, Vivo and Nubia.

Mainland wireless infrastructure giant China Tower (0788) posted its net profit rose 2.38 times year on year to 1.28 billion yuan (HK$1.5 billion) for the first quarter.

Operating revenue grew 9.6 percent to 18.9 billion yuan.

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