China’s July economic data downbeat after signs of hope in June
China's economy likely showed renewed signs of weakness in July after a brief pick-up in June, Reuters polls showed, reinforcing expectations that Beijing will need to roll out more policy support to meet its full-year growth target. Panic selling in the country's stock markets early in the month also likely chilled consumer and business confidence, though unprecedented government support measures appear to have stemmed the rout for now.
A raft of data this weekend and next week is expected to show domestic and export demand remained sluggish, weighing on factory activity, while new loans could fall sharply, possibly as Beijing pressed banks to support the stock market.
"The real economy, though stabilizing at a low level, is still struggling to turn around," said Tao Wang, an economist at UBS in Hong Kong, adding that she expected the central bank to cut interest rates again toward the end of September.
China's exports were seen dropping 1.0 percent in July compared with a year earlier, after growing 2.8 percent in June, a median forecast of 31 analysts polled by Reuters showed.
Unexpected growth in June had fueled hopes that global demand was finally improving, but official and private factory surveys in recent days have shown export orders shrank in July, pointing to more weakness in coming months. Dragged in part by a tumble in global commodity prices, imports were seen shrinking for the ninth straight month, slipping 8.0 percent in July from a year earlier. Imports had tumbled 6.1 percent in June.
Reflecting sluggish economic activity, producer prices were estimated to have slid 5 percent in July from a year earlier, the biggest drop since the global financial crisis.
Consumer inflation also likely stayed muted, running at 1.5 percent on a yearly basis, compared with June's 1.4 percent. A cooling housing market, uneven exports and lackluster investment growth have weighed on China this year, with economic growth expected to cool from 7.4 percent in 2014 to 7 percent in 2015, the slowest in a quarter of a century.