Pressured by weak demand at home and overseas, China's industrial output rose 5.3 percent in January-February, less than expected and the slowest pace since early 2002.
China's manufacturers are facing weaker sales at home and overseas, with exports hit by USA tariffs on Chinese goods and cooling global demand.
Real estate investment, which mainly focuses on the residential sector but also includes commercial and office space, is a key driver of growth for the world's second-largest economy.
China's fixed-asset investment grew 6.1 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2019, 0.2 percentage points higher than that recorded in 2018, NBS data showed.
In the first two months of 2019 the Chinese economy has slowed down again, and industrial outout has fallen to a 10 year low. They raised 2.45 trillion yuan ($365.38 billion) in the first two months of the year, up 2.1 percent from the same period last year, slower than the 6.4 percent rise in the full year of 2018, the NBS said.
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Market expectations also brightened, Mao said, citing indexes of consumer confidence and new orders in the manufacturing sector that rallied in February. Past year investment in infrastructure crumbled as China hit the brakes on major projects such as subway lines and motorways to keep a lid on debt.
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. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week laid out a lower growth target of 6.0-6.5 percent this year, from 6.6 percent growth in 2018, which was already the slowest pace for nearly three decades.
Beijing has tried to restart spending.
"The growth trend of the modern service industry is relatively good", Mao said, adding that information transmission, software and information technology industries maintained a high growth rate of 26.5 percent.
US President Donald Trump said yesterday he sees a "very good chance" of reaching a trade deal with China but is in "no rush" to reach an agreement. Infrastructure spending ticked up 4.3% in January and February, from 3.8% the same time previous year. China, however, is not alone in facing trade woes.
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