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Weaker-than-expected China April Investment, Retail Sales Cloud Economic Outlook

– Fixed asset investment in China rose 7% in the first four months of 2018 from a year earlier, compared to the general consensus of a 7.4% gain, official data showed on Tuesday, suggesting that the country’s economy might be losing steam.

Meanwhile, retails sales grew 9.4% from a year earlier, compared to the estimates of 10.0%. Property sales growth also softened to 1.3% in January-April, down from 3.6% in January-March, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

On the other hand, industrial production output gained 7.0% in April, the NBS said, outperforming the general consensus of 6.4%.

The statistics bureau noted that the industrial output data showed the China-U.S. trade frictions have yet to show any significant impact on China’s economy.

The two nations are set to resume trade talks this week, as China’s top economic official Liu He arrives in Washington on Tuesday for trade discussions with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that would run until Saturday. Reports suggested that Liu might be ready to offer U.S. companies easier access to Chinese markets.

The news came after the U.S.’s request of a more precise timetable on when and how China would open up its markets, as U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad said on Tuesday that the two countries are still "very far apart" on resolving trade frictions.

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