In recent years, China has been transitioning from an investment-driven economic model to one more reliant on consumer spending.
Retail sales, which increase by 10.7 percent year-on-year in April, beat the 10.6 percent forecast by Reuters but still softer than March's 10.9 percent. Property development investment rose 9.3 percent to 2.77 trillion yuan.
China's liquidity conditions have also been tightened in the past few weeks, driven mainly by fortified regulatory efforts at financial deleveraging since late March.
Fixed asset investment (FAI) growth slowed to 8.9% y/y ytd for the first four months of 2017 from 9.2% prior.
At the end of April, 674.7 million square meters of property remained unsold in China, decreasing by 13.4 million square meters from the end of March. Analysts had forecasted they would rise 10.6 percent, edging lower from the previous period's 10.9 percent growth.
At the same time, growth in the services sector slowed to 8.1 per cent year-on-year, down from 8.3 per cent growth in March and the slowest since December.
In a briefing after the data release, an NBS spokesman said the nation had already met 63.4 percent of this year's targeted cuts for steel and 46 percent of coal cuts.
New construction starts measured by floor area, a telling indicator of developer confidence and correspondingly volatile, rose 11.1 percent in the first four months of the year, moderating from a 11.6 percent rise in the first three months, the bureau said. Some 4.65 million new jobs were created in the first four months, 220,000 more than the same period a year ago, and 556,000 new companies were registered in April alone.
China should continue to reduce excess capacity, curb credit, lower debt leverage in the corporate sector and reform state-owned enterprises, said Sudhir Shetty, chief economist of the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Region. However, he added: "We're still some way off from the economy weakening to the point where it will test the tolerance of policymakers.as the urgency to address some of these financial risk issues (is even greater)".