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Chinese industrial production grows more than expected in August

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— Chinese industrial production rose past expectations in August as improving local demand and a continued stream of monetary support from the government helped spur some recovery in the sector.

rose 4.5% in August from the prior year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. The reading was higher than expectations for growth of 4%, and more than the 3.7% rise seen in July.

rose marginally, as expected, to 3.9% from 3.8% in the prior month.

A bulk of August’s positive reading was driven by a low basis for comparison, given that China still had large parts of the country under COVID restrictions in 2022. But the stronger-than-expected reading also suggested some pick-up in activity after the country lifted all anti-COVID restrictions at the beginning of 2023.

China’s manufacturing sector is still struggling with slowing activity, particularly amid slowing overseas demand for Chinese goods. But a released earlier this month showed that improving local demand was helping spur new business for manufacturers.

Other data also showed that Chinese consumption was recovering, with rising 4.6% in August, up much more than expectations of 3% and the prior month’s growth of 2.5%.

But growth still weakened to 6.98% in August from 7.33% in July.

China’s improved slightly to 5.2% in August from 5.3% in the prior month.

But growth in – which represents capital spending by big businesses- slowed to 3.2% in August from 3.4% in July, reflecting continued caution over China’s economic prospects. While Friday’s data showed some improvement in the world’s second-largest economy, business activity in the country still remains well below pre-COVID levels.

Growth in China’s gross domestic product also fell sharply in the second quarter, with the economy barely expanding amid sluggish manufacturing and relatively subdued local demand.

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