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YANGZHOU, CHINA – MAY 02: Aerial view of tourists visiting the Dongguan street during the May Day holiday on May 2, 2023.

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China’s economic data for April broadly missed expectations as the economy continued to show an uneven path of recovery from the impact of its stringent Covid restrictions.

Industrial production for April rose by 5.6% year-on-year, compared to the 10.9% expected by economists surveyed in a Reuters poll. The figure was up 3.9% in March following a muted start to the year.

Retail sales rose by 18.4% – lower than economists’ forecast a surge of 21%.

Fixed asset investment rose by 4.7%, against expectations of 5.5%. The reading rose 5.1% the previous month.

“China is in the stage of recovering, compared to last year, the numbers are positive as we just saw, but is the recovery good enough for the market, is the recovery good enough to meet investors’ expectations – that’s the big question here,” BofA Securities China equity strategist Winnie Wu told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

“It’s not good enough to meet with investors’ expectations – that’s a problem,” Wu said, adding that the momentum from China’s pent-up demand seems to be fading away.

“The recovery of income, of job security, and confidence will take time,” she said.

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“Market sentiment remains very weak in our client conversations,” Goldman Sachs economist Hui Shan wrote in a Sunday report.

She expects more measures from the government rather than a change in interest rates to improve market confidence.

“Symbolic measures that aim at boosting confidence, such as RRR cuts, seem more likely to us, especially around quarter-end when liquidity demand is high,” she wrote, referring to banks’ reserve requirement ratio — the amount of funds banks need to hold as reserves.

Record-high youth unemployment

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