Beijing, Aug 14: China's economy showed further signs of strain in July with output at its factories falling to its lowest level in 17 years, while investment and retail sales slowed, official data showed Wednesday.

The figures are the latest to highlight how the world's second-largest economy is being battered by an escalating trade war with the United States and slowing global demand.

Industrial output increased 4.8 per cent on-year in July, down from 6.3 per cent in June and marking the weakest pace since 2002. It was also well below the 6.0 per cent forecast by economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

"Given the complicated and grave external environment and the mounting downward pressure on the economy at home, the foundation for sustainable and healthy growth of the economy still needs to be consolidated," said Liu Aihua, a spokeswoman for the National Statistics Bureau, which released the data.

The data also showed China's billion-strong army of consumers were showing signs of becoming more frugal.

Retail sales, which have long been a bright spot for the economy, slowed to a 7.6 per cent rise last month, sharply down from 9.8 per cent in June.

The news highlights the battle China's leaders have in trying to navigate the country's economy from exports and government investment to one driven by domestic consumption.

Fixed-asset investment increased 5.7 per cent in January-July, slowing from 5.8 per cent in January-June.

Growth in gross domestic product slowed to 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of the year -- the weakest pace in almost three decades.

The economic malaise makes it more difficult for President Xi Jinping to fight back forcefully against Washington -- which is using tariffs as leverage to try to force Beijing into opening up its markets.

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Ranchi, Oct 18: Having lost nine successive tosses in Asia, an exasperated South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won't mind sending "someone else" in his place for the toss of the coin in the third and final Test against India, beginning here Saturday.

South Africa have struggled in Indian conditions and not winning the toss in the first two Tests has only made things tougher for them. Opting to bat in Visakhapatnam and Pune, India put up 500-plus totals to virtually bat the visitors out of the game.

"We really want to make sure that we compete with this team in their own conditions. We have done it in stages in the first Test. So, hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow.

"Probably we will change... send someone else to the toss tomorrow. I can give you that... because my records so far has not been great," said du Plessis, in a lighter vein, on the eve of the game.

Du Plesiss said "anything is possible" if his side get to bat first.

"If you put big runs in the first innings, that's where it need to stop. Then anything from there is possible. Hopefully that will unfold in the next couple of days and hopefully we can put some runs on.

"The pitch looks a little bit drier and crustier so first innings runs will be vital and then anything from there is possible in the second innings," the South African skipper added.