Weekly utilization rates at steel mills across China fell to 62.98 percent last week as of March 8, the lowest level in a year, data compiled by Mysteel consultancy showed.
Suspicions about falsification in China's gross domestic product (GDP) data spread after the country in January revised its GDP growth for 2017 to 6.8%, slightly down from the previously published 6.9%, based on a final verification.
Crude throughput at China's oil refineries in the first two months of 2019 rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to a record on a daily basis, data showed on Thursday, as new privately-owned refiners started up their processing facilities.
The bureau also said that the total property investment in the first two months reached 1.2 trillion yuan, with 72.1 percent used in residential buildings.More news: Hexo Set to Gain Ontario Retail Stake with Newstrike Acquisition | INN
The industrial output expanded 5.3 percent in the first two months, down from 5.7 percent in December 2018, NBS data showed Thursday. In December it was 5.7%. 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.
Falling property sales in Jan-Feb due to Lunar New Year factors.
Private sector fixed-asset investment also lost a step, rising 7.5 percent versus an increase of 8.7 percent in 2018.
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.More news: Flood warnings issued along Tittabawasse and Saginaw rivers for this weekenda
However, retail sales remain near a 15-year low, said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a note, adding that "the near-term outlook still looks downbeat".
The possibility of having deflation in China is small.
Industry data this week showed automobile sales in China fell for the eighth consecutive month in February.
China's state planner announced measures in January to boost consumption of goods ranging from eco-friendly appliances to big-ticket items such as cars, but the size and scope of the subsidy scheme is still unclear. Infrastructure spending ticked up 4.3% in January and February, from 3.8% the same time past year. Most of the 70 cities surveyed by the NBS still reported monthly price increases for new homes, though the number was down to 57 from 58 in January.More news: Why Injured Nadal may not play against Roger Federer in Indian Wells