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China economy: Citi sees rise in Chinese production of home appliances

Citi says it’s seeing a good sign for China’s economy: Production of air-conditioners and other home appliances is ramping up in the country. Optimism for China’s outlook is on the rise after the county said its gross domestic product grew more than expected in the first three months of this year, spurring analysts to raise 2019 growth forecasts. Uncertainties remain, but for big ticket home appliances such as air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines, positive signs are emerging, analysts at the US bank said in a report dated Thursday. Citing data from Wind and Citi’s own research, they said that production of the consumer staples increased 3% overall in the first quarter from the year before after a decline of 5% in the third quarter of 2018 and an unchanged reading in the fourth quarter. Air-conditioner production grew 8% on year in the first quarter, washing machine output grew 4% and refrigerators declined 4% — but that was much better than the 15% decline seen in 2018 — Citi said, describing “significant improvements in growth rates” for the products.