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Early Look: China’s ‘Lukewarm’ Economy in May

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China’s economy appears to have sputtered along at low levels last month, still struggling to find fresh growth momentum following a jump-start earlier this year thanks government stimulus, according to a survey of economists.

The nation’s business activities, from industrial production to retail sales, likely remained lackluster last month after missing economists’ expectations in April, according to a survey of 16 economists by The Wall Street Journal.

In the very least, they said, things are not getting worse. “Lukewarm appears to be the word of the month for China in May,” economists of Standard Chartered Bank (HK) said in a note to clients.

Industrial output, a rough proxy for economic growth, likely grew 6% in May from a year earlier, the same as the month before. Fixed-asset investment outside rural households, a key gauge of construction activity, likely rose 10.4% for the January to May period, slightly slower than a 10.5% increase over the first four months. Retail sales likely climbed 10.1% in May, also unchanged from April’s tally.

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