China’s factory output, retail sales weaken amid tariff war

BEIJING — China’s factory output and consumer spending weakened in April as a tariff war with Washington intensified.

Wednesday’s data prompted suggestions Beijing will need to prop up economic growth with more government spending.

Government data showed growth in factory output decelerated to 5.4 per cent over a year earlier from March’s 8.5 per cent growth.

Growth in retail sales declined to 7.2 per cent over a year ago from the previous month’s 8.7 per cent.

Manufacturers have been battered by President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes on Chinese imports. The escalating dispute has fueled unease among Chinese consumers, depressing domestic demand.