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China's industrial output grows in first 2 months

CHINA'S industrial output rose 5.2 percent year on year in the first two months of 2009, with growth slowing from December, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in Beijing yesterday.

The figure was 0.5 percentage points lower than in December, dragged down by plummeting exports and high inventories, according to MIIT.

In February alone, however, industrial output expanded 11 percent from a year earlier, showing that the downtrend appeared to be easing.

Light and heavy industries grew 6.5 percent and 2.7 percent in the two-month period, 1.6 percentage points and 2 percentage points below the respective December figures.

Major industrial exports fell 17.1 percent to 896.8 billion yuan (US$131.3 billion). That represented a 31.9-percentage-point decline from the 2008 level, MIIT said.

Qi Jingmei, an economist with the State Information Center, told Xinhua the figures showed that the Chinese industry was still feeling the impact of the global downturn.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics also reflected the impact of the downturn. Profits of major industrial firms shrank 37.3 percent year on year during the first two months of 2009, the bureau said on Friday.

Falling exports also caused declines in light industries like textiles, which in turn affected the upstream sectors, according to Gao Shanwen, chief economist of Essence Securities.

But increases in fixed asset investment, new loans and retail sales in the first two months would help offset the slide in industrial output, Qi said.

Retail sales grew 15.2 percent in the first two months to 2 trillion yuan, while urban fixed asset investment rose 26.5 percent year on year to 1.027 trillion yuan, the bureau said.



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