Industrial output strong in April

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 May, 2007, 12:00am

The mainland's industrial output continued to grow rapidly last month, propelled by a boom in exports and capital spending and adding pressure on the government to act to cool the economy.

Industrial value-added output rose 17.4 per cent year on year last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement posted on its website yesterday.

That pace was slightly down on the 17.6 per cent increase for March, and 18.3 per cent growth in the first quarter, but it topped 17 per cent in year-on-year growth for the fifth successive year.

In the first four months of this year, industrial output rose 18 per cent from the figures in the same period last year.

Industrial production growth had cooled in the final quarter of last year, dipping to a two-year low of 14.7 per cent in October.

Output rose by 16.6 per cent last year, 16.4 per cent in 2005, 16.7 per cent in 2004 and 17 per cent in 2003.

Economists attributed the robust industrial output growth to strong export demand, a rebound in capital spending and rising domestic consumption.

Hong Liang, chief economist with Goldman Sachs, said it was important for the government to act now to reduce overheating pressures, 'beginning with an adjustment in the negative real interest rates'.

Economic planners have said that the government needed to guard against higher industrial production because the continued expansion may not only accelerate economic growth, but also lead to depletion of energy resources.

Exports by mainland industrial companies rose 19.5 per cent year on year last month to hit 571.6 billion yuan, the statement said, despite tighter curbs on exports from high-polluting and high-energy-consuming industries.

The mainland's trade surplus for the first four months of the year was US$63.31 billion, 88 per cent more than in the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.

The output of almost all major products, ranging from clothing and textiles to machinery and production materials such as coal, oil and steel, saw double-digit growth last month.