HONG KONG — China’s economy faces major structural challenges in the coming years, but for now, the slowdown of the recent past may have bottomed out.
A new batch of economic data released Friday provided additional signs of buoyancy in an economy that has been weighed down by lackluster international demand. The Chinese government has also taken a tough-love approach, eager to wean the country from its reliance on exports and cheap credit.
Industrial output growth, which had been languishing around 9 percent for the past few months, jumped to 9.7 percent in July, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. The figure easily beat expectations for a rise of 9 percent, and helped support tentative signs that conditions in the country’s manufacturing sector were starting to show a moderate improvement.
Retail sales grew 13.2 percent from a year earlier, slightly less than the 13.5 percent that analysts polled by Reuters had expected, but in line with the performance of the past few months.
And investment in fixed assets, like buildings and machinery, in urban areas also was in line with expectations, growing 20.1 percent in the first seven months of this year.
Together with unexpectedly solid import and export data released Thursday, this week’s data appeared to show that the Chinese economy has stabilized, at least for now, and prompted some analysts to project a modest pickup in the coming months.
‘'The better-than-expected July activity data has largely dampened...