China's crude steel output up 9.2% YoY in Jan-Feb: NBS

Chinese Slowdown Deepens: Industrial Output at 17-Year Low

Data released on Thursday showed that refineries' output in China in the first two months of 2019 increased by 6.1 percent compared to a year ago based on a daily basis record because the emerging privately owned refineries started the operations of their processing facilities.

In January-February, China produced some 73.89 million mt of coke, up 7.6% from the same periodlast year.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected it to rise 6.0 percent, edging up marginally from 5.9 percent in 2018. Most analysts believe activity may not convincingly stabilize until the middle of the year. The growth was faster than the 9.5 percent expansion recorded in 2018.

In January and February auto sales continued to fall and manufacturing activity sunk.

China's property investment accelerated in the first two months of the year driven by strong demand in its hinterland and defying a decline in sales, government curbs in bigger markets and a broader economic slowdown.

China's normally steady unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in February, from 4.9% in December, with the NBS saying it had expected worse numbers.

Earlier this week, industry data showed automobile sales in China fell for the eighth consecutive month in February, adding to concerns about weaker consumer confidence.

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That processing rate works out at about 12.68 million barrels per day (bpd), according to Reuters calculations based on the NBS data, exceeding the previous daily high hit in September at 12.49 million bpd.

But fixed-asset investment rose 6.1 percent, while retail sales rose 8.2 percent, both more than expected. Infrastructure spending ticked up 4.3 percent on-year in January-February, from 3.8 percent last year. 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.

Xining, the capital of Qinghai province in central China by the Tibetan Plateau, was the top performer last month with a monthly price increase of 2.3 percent.

China's state planner announced measures in January to boost consumption of goods ranging from eco-friendly appliances to big-ticket items such as cars, but the size and scope of the subsidy scheme is still unclear.

During the January-February period, the producer price index, which measures factory-gate prices, edged up by 0.1 percent year-on-year.

But it still remains well below the near 20% growth seen for many years.

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