China: Downward trend in retail sales growth continues in March
April 15, 2015
In March, nominal retail sales grew 10.2% over the same month last year, which was down from the 10.7% increase tallied in the first two months of the year and represented the softest expansion since February 2006. The National Bureau of Statistics releases combined January and February figures to avoid seasonal effects stemming from the Chinese New Year holiday. The reading, which undershot the 10.9% increase that market analysts had expected, reflected mostly a contraction in oil and oil-related products as well as in automobile sales.
Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.71% in March (February: +0.97% month-on-month). As a result of the disappointing figures observed at the outset of the year, annual average growth in retail sales fell from February’s 11.8% to 11.6% in March, which represented the lowest reading since June 2004.