China's industrial output growth accelerated to 8.8 percent year-on-year in May, official data showed Friday, while retail sales hit their highest level since December in signs of renewed strength in the world's second-largesteconomy.
The industrial production figure was stronger than the 8.7 percent recorded a month earlier and matched the median forecast of 8.8 percent in a poll of 15 economists by the Wall Street Journal.
Retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, increased 12.5 percent last month from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said, up from a gain of 11.9 percent in April and the highest since 13.6 percent at the end of last year.
Fixed-asset investment, a main measure of government spending on infrastructure projects, rose by 17.2 percent year-on-year in the January-May period, slowing from a 17.3 percent rise in the first four months of the year.
The data provided further evidence that economic activity in China is picking up as the government stepped up what economists call the "mini-stimulus" to arrest a slowdown seen earlier this year.
The country's manufacturing sector showed regained vigour in May, with official and private surveys indicating an improving situation.
China's gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent in the first three months of 2014, weaker than the 7.7 percent recorded in October-December and the worst pace since a similar 7.4 percent expansion in the third quarter of 2012.
Beijing has introduced a number of measures to spur growth, including reserve requirement ratio cuts for selected lenders, financial support for small companies and targeted infrastructure outlays.
But it has so far refrained from more aggressive steps such as interest rate cuts, citing worries about excessive credit.