The Australian Dollar got a lift Wednesday from some broadly upbeat Chinese economic data. February’s industrial production rose by 7.2%, a full percentage point above expectations. Fixed-asset investment rose by 7.9%, when a 7% gain had been expected. Retail sales were the weak point, but even they were fairly perky. Sales rose by 9.7%, just below the hoped for 9.8% gain. Beijing expects the Chinese economy to grow by about 6.5% this year, according to the target released this month at the National People’s Congress.

China-watchers think that this commitment to a relatively sedate target mans that China is concentrating on more sustainable growth which does not come at the cost of a huge increase in debt. In any case these data suggest that the world’s second largest economy is heading into 2018 in very reasonable shape, although the long Lunar New Year break may distort t all the figures at least until we get a look at those for March.

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