China industrial production grew at the slowest pace in nearly two decades in the first two months of the year, official data showed on Thursday.
Industrial production rose 5.3 percent year-on-year in the January to February period, which was less than the 5.6 percent gain economists had forecast.
The pace of growth was reportedly the weakest since 2002. In December, production grew 5.7 percent.
Retail sales growth remained near 15-year lows in the two-month period, down 8.2 percent year-on-year. Economists had forecast 6.2 percent growth.
Meanwhile, fixed asset investment rose 6.1 percent year-on-year in the January to February period, which was faster than December's 5.9 percent increase. Economists had predicted 6.2 percent increase.
Fixed investment growth was led by an 11.6 percent surge in property investment, the fastest in five years, while spending in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors slowed. However, home and land sales decreased.
The unemployment rate climbed to 5.3 percent in February from 4.9 percent in December.