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

China Gas Holdings

Retail sales increased by 8.2 percent year-on-year in the same period, unchanged from December, while industrial output went up 5.3 percent. It is was also predicted that the growth will be small because reserves deplete at the main production fields and as new discoveries tend to be marginal.

Developers say market sentiment has improved recently thanks to looser credit policies. Beijing has also become less anxious about cities easing existing curbs and is more concerned about the broader economic impact of the trade war with the United States.

"The market has obviously become better this month", said a senior executive from a top Chinese developer, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to media.

After deducting price factors, the indicator grew 7.1 percent in real terms, accelerating from December's 6.6-percent rise, NBS spokesperson Mao Shengyong said at a press conference.

"The data suggests some cities resorted to price-cutting to promote sales under the pressure of meeting sales targets amid a traditionally off-season for the market", said Yan Yuejin, director of the E-house China Research and Development Institution.


Fixed-asset investment rose 6.1% in the first two months, from 5.9% in 2018.

In the January-February period, the investment in residential buildings surged 18 percent year on year to 871.1 billion yuan, 4.6 percentage points faster than the pace in 2018.

Market expectations also brightened, Mao said, citing indexes of consumer confidence and new orders in the manufacturing sector that rallied in February. Infrastructure spending ticked up 4.3 percent on-year in January-February, from 3.8 percent last year.

Failed land auctions in China have increased significantly since the second half of 2018.

Average daily steel output over the two months reached 2.54 million tonnes, up from 2.46 million tonnes in December and 2.32 million tonnes in the same months previous year, according to Reuters calculations based on official data. Many centers still report rapid price gains thanks to heavy government investment and a national program to redevelop the country's slums. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week laid out a lower growth target of 6.0-6.5 percent this year, from 6.6 percent growth in 2018, which was already the slowest pace for nearly three decades.

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