China January-February steel output rises from December on strong margins

17 Mars, 2019, 02:31 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low but investment picks

The output increased by 0.5 percent compared to previous year.

Crude throughput at China's oil refineries in the first two months of 2019 rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to a record on a daily basis, data showed on Thursday, as new privately-owned refiners started up their processing facilities. China's exports to all of its major markets fell across the board last month.

But the cooling trend in sales suggests that such a rebound will be hard to maintain while the real estate market still faces relatively significant downward pressure, Southwest Securities' Yang added.

China's survey-based jobless rate rose to 5.3 percent in February, from 4.9 percent in December, though it was below the government's target of 5.5 percent this year.

During the January-February period, the producer price index, which measures factory-gate prices, edged up by 0.1 percent year-on-year.

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Slower sales continued to hit China's real estate developers' bottom line.

The NBS data also showed that the country's natural gas output increased by 9.2 percent from a year earlier to 28.7 billion cubic meters in the first two months of 2019 because the growth accelerated after output expanded 7.5 percent for the whole of 2018.

"For popular cities in the first- and second-tier cities, there is some possibility of a market recovery in March", said Zhang Dawei, an analyst with Hong Kong-based Centaline, a property consultancy.

China's economic growth in Jan-Feb within a reasonable range.

Benchmark rebar prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed 10 percent in the past two months and hit a peak of 3,908 yuan ($582.82) a tonne on February 11, the highest level since late August. But policymakers have vowed to flush out speculators and prevent big fluctuations in housing values as they try to ensure that first-home buyers aren't completely priced out of the market. Another cause of concern from today's data release was the unemployment rate, which grew by 5.3% in January and February from 4.9% in December and to the highest level in two years. Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China, and Beijing has spent considerable effort trying to ease financial strains on smaller, private firms. The upturn was likely supported by an acceleration in property construction as developers rush to meet pre-sale standard to put more projects into the sales market. Most analysts believe activity may not convincingly stabilise until the middle of the year.

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