China Retail March 2022


China: Retail sales contract at sharpest pace since April 2020 in March

April 18, 2022

Retail sales declined 3.5% in year-on-year terms in March, which contrasted January–February’s 6.7% increase. March's figure marked the worst reading since April 2020, came in notably below market expectations and was driven by widespread Covid-19 lockdowns. Jewelry, catering services, clothing, furniture and vehicle sales suffered particularly steep declines in March.

On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, retail sales fell 1.9% in March (February: +0.2% mom), the worst result since July 2021. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth fell to 6.5% in March (February: +9.9%), signaling a worsening trend in the retail trade sector.

Our panelists see retail sales rising 7.4% in 2022, down 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 7.7% in 2023.


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China Retail Chart

China Retail March 2022 2

Note: Month-on-month changes of seasonally adjusted nominal retail sales index and year-on-year variation in %. Owing to seasonal factors related to the Lunar New Year, annual figures for January and February are reported together.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) and FocusEconomics calculations.

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