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China's April industrial output growth speeds up

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BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Growth of China's industrial output picked up in April after hitting a six-year low in March, pointing to tentative signs of improvement for the world's second largest economy amid downward pressures.

The industrial output grew 5.9 percent year on year in April, up from 5.6-percent growth in March, the lowest monthly level since December of 2008, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced on Wednesday.

Industrial output, officially called industrial value added, is used to measure the activity of designated large enterprises that have an annual turnover of at least 20 million yuan (3.22 million U.S. dollars).

The start of the year saw other lackluster economic indicators, indicating a bumpy ride ahead for the world's second largest economy.

China's economic growth slowed to 7 percent in the first quarter this year, down from 7.3 percent in the previous quarter.

After more than a decade of double-digit growth, annual industrial growth slowed to 9.7 percent in 2013, and then to 8.3 percent last year.

Manufacturing output rose 6.5 percent, while the mining industry saw output grow 2.8 percent. Growth for electricity, heating, gas and water was 2.0 percent.

Industrial output of state-owned and state-controlled enterprises saw 1.9 percent growth year on year, while joint stock companies expanded by 7.4 percent. Industrial output of enterprises funded by overseas investors expanded by 2.9 percent.

All these figures are down from a year ago.

Despite the slowdown, industrial structure continued to improve, NBS statistician Jiang Yuan said, noting innovation had accelerated and the expansion of emerging industries was much faster.

The industrial value added of the high-tech sector and equipment manufacturing jumped by 10.5 percent, outpacing overall growth by 4.6 percentage points, Jiang said.

Industrial output of emerging sectors such as telecom equipment, electronic devices and urban rail transportation equipment manufacturing surged by 19.4 percent, 16.4 percent and 16.3 percent respectively.

Industrial output of high-end durable goods such as smart phones and smart TVs jumped 10.5 percent and 44.6 percent respectively.

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