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China's factories, property sector sap rebound

STORY: China’s uncertain economic recovery appears to have hit a few more bumps.

Figures out Monday showed activity at factories sputtering.

Industrial output grew 5.6% in May - that was down on a month before, and below analyst forecasts.

The country’s ailing real estate sector was another drag.

Property investment fell over 10% on the year over January to May.

New home prices also dropped for an 11th straight month, and saw their steepest fall in almost a decade.

That’s all despite government and central bank efforts to revive the sector, including support for affordable housing.

Property used to account for about a quarter of the country’s economy, but has been sapped by a regulatory crackdown on the debts built up by developers.

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Goldman Sachs estimates China is now saddled with unsold homes worth close to $2 trillion.

There were some brighter spots in May’s figures, however.

Retail sales rose 3.7% on the year, picking up steam and beating forecasts.

The employment market also held steady at least, with the jobless rate unchanged.

Even so, economists say the latest numbers will add to pressure on Beijing to shore up growth.

Policymakers have vowed to create more jobs though major projects, and pledged steps to boost domestic demand.