【英语财经】中国4月份数据显露经济疲软迹象 China’s April Manufacturing, Property Data Show Signs of Weakness

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2014-5-14 08:07

小艾摘要: China's disappointing manufacturing and property data reveal fresh signs of weakness that could pressure Beijing to prop up the economy. Economists have been looking for some indication that China's f ...
China's April Manufacturing, Property Data Show Signs of Weakness
China's disappointing manufacturing and property data reveal fresh signs of weakness that could pressure Beijing to prop up the economy.

Economists have been looking for some indication that China's first-quarter slump is reversing, which could help the government reach its official 7.5% growth rate for this year.

But April data released on Tuesday suggest the slowdown in the property market is having a knock-on effect on factory output, retail sales, and investment in machinery, land and other physical assets, all of which posted slower growth rates compared with a year ago.

'The figures are rather serious, a signal that perhaps economic activity hasn't moved up but is still at the bottom,' said Li-Gang Liu, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. 'It's a wake-up call for policy makers for more decisive action if they're serious about their 7.5% growth target.'

At least two local governments in recent weeks have rolled back housing restrictions set amid a frothy property market. Eased policies include extending preferential purchase rights to residents of neighboring communities and relaxing residency requirements for outsiders buying property.

Spending on real estate, including indirect purchases such as furniture and management fees, accounts for about a quarter of China's economy, a proportion large enough to cause a domino effect if the sector hits a wall.

'The risk to the property sector is my most worrisome concern for the Chinese economy this year,' said UBS AG economist Wang Tao.

Home sales in the first four months of the year fell 9.9% to 1.53 trillion yuan ($245.6 billion), according to China's National Bureau of Statistics, compared with a 7.7% decline for the three months ended March. The statistics agency relies on year-to-date figures and doesn't break out individual months.

Demand weakened in more Chinese cities as banks continued to tighten mortgage lending and buyers stood on the sidelines, expecting developers to cut prices further.

Property investment in the first four months of 2014 rose 16.4% year-over-year to 2.23 trillion yuan, but that was down from the 16.8% growth seen in the first quarter.

Despite concerns of mounting debt, the central bank needs to relax its lending policies to property developers and households to invigorate the sluggish real-estate market, said Société Générale economist Yao Wei. If current tight credit policies remain much longer, she said, Beijing won't be able to turn around the real-estate market in the near term.

Tepid production, investment and real-estate data leading into the second quarter--traditionally a stronger period as investment growth kicks in after the winter--could pressure China's central bank to cut the reserve-ratio requirement, the amount of deposits and notes commercial banks must hold in reserve, analysts said.

Industrial production by the nation's factories and mines rose 8.7% year-over-year in April, the statistics agency said, a slight decline from 8.8% in March.

Fixed-asset investment in machinery, land and buildings, excluding rural areas, meanwhile rose 17.3% in the January to April period, compared with the same period a year earlier, a decline from the 17.6% increase in the January to March period.

Retail sales for the month rose by 11.9%, a decline from the 12.2% year-over-year increase in March.

In a bid to prop up faltering demand, Chinese leaders in February announced a set of mini-stimulus measures, including tax cuts for smaller companies and increased transportation spending. Such measures are seen as a more targeted approach than a major stimulus program that ultimately could fuel more bad debt. Still, the latest figures suggest this wasn't enough to counteract weaker fundamentals, some analysts said.

'Today's data made clear that the government's mini-stimulus measures haven't fully shown effects,' said USB's Ms. Wang.

Reuters今年3月,安徽合肥一家汽车厂中的工人。
令人失望的中国制造业和楼市数据显露出经济疲软的新迹象,这可能会给政府带来提振经济的压力。

经济学家一直希望看到中国经济增速第一季度大幅放缓的势头得到扭转的迹象,因为这可能有助于政府实现全年经济增长7.5%的目标。

但周二发布的4月份数据表明,房地产市场的放缓已对工业产值、零售额以及机械、土地和其他实物资产的投资造成连锁效应,上述所有指标的增幅均较上年同期下降。

澳新银行(Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.)的经济学家刘利刚表示,这些数据所揭示的情况相当严重,这表明中国的经济活动不仅没有上升,而且可能仍在低谷。他说,如果政府对于7.5%的增速目标是认真的,那么这份数据是对决策者的一个警钟,要求决策者采取更加果断的行动。

最近几周,至少已有两个地方政府对在楼市泡沫时期出台的调控措施进行松绑,包括将优先购房权利延伸至周边区域的居民,以及放松对外地居民购房资格的要求。

房地产领域的支出包括了购置家具和物业管理费等间接开支,在中国经济中所占的比重高达约四分之一,这一比例如此之高,已经到了房地产市场滑坡将产生多米诺效应的地步。

瑞银(UBS)经济学家汪涛称,房地产行业的风险是中国经济今年面临的最令人担忧的问题。

中国国家统计局公布的数据显示,今年1-4月,全国住宅销售额同比下降9.9%,至人民币1.53万亿元(约合2,456亿美元),降幅较1-3月的7.7%有所扩大。国家统计局披露了1-4月份的综合数据,没有列出单月数据。

由于银行继续收紧抵押贷款,更多中国城市的购房需求降温。购房者预计开发商将进一步降价,所以保持观望态度。

2014年1-4月份,全国房地产投资同比增长16.4%,投资额达到人民币2.23万亿元,但增速低于1-3月的16.8%。

法国兴业银行(Societe Generale)经济学家姚炜说,虽然不断上升的负债水平令人担忧,但中国央行有必要放松面向房地产开发商和家庭购房者的贷款政策,藉此提振疲软的房地产市场。她表示,如果当前紧缩信贷政策持续更长时间,短期内政府将难以扭转房地产市场的局面。

分析师们表示,在进入第二季度之际,低迷的工业增加值、投资和房地产数据可能迫使中国央行下调商业银行存款准备金率。一般而言,由于冬季之后投资开始加速增长,第二季度是中国经济增速较快的季度。

中国国家统计局称,4月份的工业增加值较上年同期增长8.7%,较3月份8.8%的增速略有放缓。

今年1-4月份,中国(不含农户)的固定资产投资较上年同期增长17.3%,较1-3月份17.6%的同比增速放缓。

4月份的社会零售品总额较上年同期增长11.9%,增速较3月份的12.2%放缓。

为提振需求的不足,中国领导人在今年2月份宣布了一系列“微刺激”政策,包括针对中小企业的税费减免措施和增加交通设施投资等。外界认为,相对于最终可能导致更多不良债务的大规模刺激政策相比,这些措施更具针对性。不过,一些分析师称,上述最新经济数据显示,这些措施还不足以抵消中国经济基本面状况趋弱的不利影响。

瑞银的汪涛表示,今日的数据表明,中国政府的微刺激措施没有完全起到效果。

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