China's industrial output grew at a weaker pace in May as higher tariffs imposed by the US administration dented production meant for exports.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that industrial production advanced 5 percent year-on-year in May, while growth was expected to remain stable at 5.4 percent.

On the other hand, retail sales grew at a faster-than-expected pace of 8.6 percent after rising 7.2 percent in the previous month. Sales were forecast to advance 8.1 percent.

In the January to May period, fixed asset investment increased only 5.6 percent from the previous year. Economists had forecast a 6.1 percent increase, as seen in the January to April period.

Similarly, property investment grew 11.2 percent in the five months to May compared to an 11.9 percent rise in the January to April period.

Disappointing batch of economic data reinforces the assessment that growth will probably weaken a bit more this quarter, Franziska Palmas, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

With consumer and business sentiment likely to sour further as the trade war escalates, additional policy easing will be needed to shore up growth, the economist noted.

However, with the scale of stimulus likely to remain smaller than in previous downturns due to concerns about financial stability, a strong recovery is not anticipated, Palmas added.

The International Monetary Fund cut China's growth forecast for this year and next to 6.2 percent and 6 percent, respectively, citing downside risks and high uncertainty surrounding trade tensions, and said more policy easing may be needed if the conflict escalates.

The unemployment rate remained stable at 5 percent in May, the NBS reported.

According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook, released on Tuesday, hiring sentiment in China was relatively stable compared to the previous quarter, but employers reported a slight annual decrease in their plans to recruit staff.

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