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China industrial growth eases to 12.8 pct

BEIJING, September 12 – Growth in China\’s industrial output eased to 12.8 percent in August from a year earlier, the government said on Friday, providing further evidence the nation\’s economy is slowing.

In the first eight months of the year, industrial output expanded 15.7 percent from the same period in 2007, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The figures showed a continuing decline after industrial output eased to 14.7 percent in July from 16.0 percent growth in June, reflecting slowing production at Chinese factories due to weakening overseas demand.

Industrial output expanded by 17.5 percent in August of last year, according to previously published data.

The industrial output data came after the government published other figures this week that indicated China\’s economy was slowing, after big efforts to cool red-hot growth that had seen inflation hit a near 12-year high in February.

China\’s economy expanded by 11.9 percent last year, and cooling efforts have already seen growth slow to 10.1 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Analysts believe this week\’s data has boosted the case for China\’s economic planners to now refocus more on growth and less on cooling inflation.

The consumer price index dropped to 4.9 percent in August, the fourth consecutive month of slowing inflation and well below the peak of 8.7 percent in February, the government said this week.

Further backing the case for boosting growth, China\’s exports, one of the main drivers of the country\’s economy, increased by 21.1 percent in August, down from a rise of 26.9 percent in July.

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Thursday\’s data showed crude oil output in August was 16.0 million tonnes, up modestly by 1.6 percent from a year earlier, while auto production went down 3.3 percent on year to 656,000 units, the bureau said.

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