China's property investment sees growth in Jan., Feb.

Chinese Slowdown Deepens: Industrial Output at 17-Year Low

Prices growth in China's four top-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou - rose 0.3 percent from a month earlier, slowing from a 0.4 percent gain in January, the statistics bureau said in a statement accompanying the data.

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.

But investment picked up speed as the government fast-tracked more road and rail projects, offering some relief for policymakers as they work to avert a sharper slowdown, data showed on Thursday.

China's economic growth cooled to 6.6 percent a year ago, the slowest in almost three decades, and it is expected to lose more momentum in the next few months.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would slow to 5.5 percent in January-February from December's 5.7 percent gain.

It is expected that the domestic oil production on China's three national oil companies will be lifter because of higher spending on exploration and production this year.

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"February's decrease in CPI growth was mainly due to the disturbance from the Spring Festival holiday, and we expect the figure to recover to about 1.8 percent in March", said Wang Qing, a researcher at Beijing-based Golden Credit Rating International.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property, a major sticking point between the two sides during months of negotiations. Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China, and Beijing has spent considerable effort trying to ease financial strains on smaller, private firms.

The production pick-up followed a rise in profit margins at steel mills over January and February, with earnings from making construction product rebar jumping more than 20 percent from December, according to data tracked by Jinrui Futures.

Thursday's data showed sales of appliances and furniture softened considerably early in the year, possibly linked to worries about the cooling property market and a 3.6 percent drop in home sales. Most of the 70 cities surveyed by the NBS still reported monthly price increases for new homes, though the number was down to 57 from 58 in January.

In the January to February period, exports stood at 2.4 trillion yuan, while imports were 2.1 trillion yuan.

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