China Retail February 2016


China: Growth in retail sales decelerates at the outset of 2016

March 12, 2016

In the January-February period, nominal retail sales grew 10.2% year-on-year, which was below December’s 11.1% increase. The National Bureau of Statistics releases combined January and February figures to avoid seasonal effects stemming from the Chinese New Year holidays. The reading undershot the 11.0% increase market analysts had expected and represented a nine-month low. Weaker sales of automobiles and household appliances were behind the deceleration.

Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.81% in February (January: +0.83% 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 December’s 11.1% to 10.2% in February, which represented the lowest reading since April 2004.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect retail sales to increase 10.7% in 2016, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate. In 2017, the panel foresees an expansion in retail sales of 10.6%.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Retail Chart

China Retail February 2016

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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