BEIJING (AP) — China’s factory output and consumer spending weakened in April as a tariff war with Washington intensified, adding to pressure on Beijing to shore up shaky economic growth.
Wednesday’s unexpectedly weak data prompted suggestions Beijing will needs to boost stimulus spending and bank lending to hit this year’s official economic growth target of 6% to 6.5%.
President Xi Jinping’s government has expressed confidence the economy can withstand U.S. tariff hikes in their fight over Chinese technology ambitions and other trade irritants. But forecasters say damage might spread beyond export-driven manufacturing industries if consumer and business confidence suffers, depressing spending and investment.
Consumer demand is “softening at a time when the export sector is taking a big hit” from U.S. tariff hikes, Rajiv Biswas of IHS Markit said