China: Consumer spending reaches five-month high in June
July 12, 2011
In June, nominal retail sales grew 17.7% over the same month last year, which represents the fastest pace since February. The reading overshot both the previous month's 16.9% increase and market expectations, which had seen sales up 17.0%. In the first half of the year, retail sales have gained 16.8%, which is up 0.2 percentage points over the January-May period. The increase in retail sales partly reflected strong growth in petroleum and related products, which jumped 36.2% (May: +42.3% yoy). On the other hand, automobile sales rose a more subdued 16.9%, but recovered somewhat from the even softer 13.6% increase tallied in May. The acceleration in retail sales contrasts with the drop seen in consumer confidence in June, mainly due to rising food prices (June: +14.4% year-on-year). The consumer confidence index tracks expenses of credit card users, including 200,000 individuals in affluent cities, and is conducted by Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay. Seasonally adjusted data corroborate the positive annual reading suggested by the annual figures, with retail sales expanding 1.38% over the previous month (May: +1.35% month-on-month).