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China Nov data shows economy on track for 2013 target

BEIJING (Reuters) - Growth in China's factory output and investment eased slightly in November while retail sales grew at their strongest rate this year, official data showed, suggesting the economy is on track to achieve the government's growth target this year.

Industrial output grew 10.0 percent in November, a four-month low and slightly below market expectations, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

Retail sales, a key gauge of domestic consumption, rose 13.7 percent in November from a year earlier. That was the fastest growth since last December, and beat market expectations.

Fixed-asset investment, an important driver of economic activity, climbed 19.9 percent in the first 11 months from the same period last year - the weakest increase in a decade.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial output to rise 10.1 percent and retail sales to rise 13.3 percent. Fixed-asset investment for the January-November period was seen up 20 percent.

"Industrial output remained at a relatively high level, suggesting the growth momentum in the short-term is quite stable," said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.

The data came after Chinese leaders began a closed-door meeting to map out their economic and reform plans for 2014.

"It's hard to see this causing any anxiety to the authorities or causing them to see the need for policy change," said Tim Condon, Asia economist at ING in Singapore.

"The economy is humming along and there is no need for growth upgrades or growth downgrades. They can focus on what they need to focus on, with no need to worry about growth stabilisation policies."

The economy is widely seen growing an annual 7.6-7.7 percent in 2013, just ahead of the government's 7.5 percent target.

Other data showed real estate investment rose 19.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2013 from a year earlier, quickening from 19.2 percent for January to October.

China's power output rose 6.8 percent in November from a year earlier, the first time the year-on-year growth rate had slowed since March.

GRAPHIC: China economy, trade, output


(Reporting by China Economics Team; Editing by John Mair)