Auto financing has hit a growth spurt in China. Photo: Reuters

China’s industrial output accelerated in the first two months of the year, as a number of sectors shrugged off a sluggish end to 2016 that had dragged headline to its lowest level since July.

Industrial production rose 6.3% in January and February, up from December’s 6.0% and beating the 6.2% median forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The broader manufacturing sector recorded the best recovery in growth, reaching 6.9% from 6.3% in December. Production of steel products, cement and sedans all rebounded from dips in the final month of 2016.

China’s automakers remained in poll position with their price-adjusted output gain of 17.0% during the January-February period. The industry grew 15.5% in 2016, led by popular demand for sports utility vehicles.

Chinese workers assemble cars on the assembly line at an auto plant in Zunyi city, southwest China’s Guizhou province. Photo: AFP

Rebounding demand for raw materials has fueled a rise in commodities prices, but that wasn’t enough to revive China’s miners. The sector contracted by -3.6%, adding to December’s -2.5% decline.

The power and electricity sector expanded output by 8.4%, edging higher from 8.0% during December.

Power generation expanded 6.3%. For the whole of 2016, it rose 4.5% to 5,911.1 billion kilowatt-hours, lifted by a strong second half. Electricity output grew at around 7% after teetering on the edge of contraction in the first two quarters.

Freight volumes were up 8.3% during the first two months of 2017, with rail cargo continuing to expand by double digits, although the precise number is not yet released. January’s rail cargo volume rose 10.4% year-on-year  to 310.58 million tons, edging higher from December’s 9.8%, NBS said during late February.

Total cargo volume during 2016 increased 5.7% to 43.335 billion tons, data from the National Development and Reform Commission shows.

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