China industrial output slows sharply in July

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Beijing (AFP)

Output by Chinese factories and workshops slowed sharply in July, growing by a lower-than-expected 6.4 percent compared to the same month last year, official figures showed on Monday.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected growth of 7.1 percent for July after industrial production, a key engine of growth, expanded by 7.6 percent in June.

Retails sales, meanwhile, slowed slightly to 10.4 percent last month while fixed asset investment posted 8.3 percent growth in the January-July period -- both slightly below expectations.

"In general, the national economy was generally steady in July with continued positive momentum and deepening structural reform," national statistics bureau spokesman Mao Shengyong said at a news conference.

"But we also see that the international circumstance is still complicated and fluid, domestic structural conflicts still stand out, and there are still a lot of hidden concerns."

The July data comes as the government seeks to rein in huge debt and excess capacity left over from massive government-backed infrastructure spending at the height of the global financial crisis.