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China: Growth in retail sales falls to nearly six-year low in September

October 21, 2014

In September, nominal retail sales grew 11.6% over the same month last year. The reading was slightly below the 11.9% increase recorded in the previous month and represented the weakest expansion since February 2009. The deceleration, which just barely undershot market expectations of an 11.7% expansion, reflected weaker growth in oil and oil-related products as well as in household appliances and clothing.

Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.85% in September (August: +0.89% month-on-month). As a result of the weaker print observed in September, annual average growth in retail sales inched down from August’s 12.6% to 12.4%, which represented the lowest reading since September 2004.

The government set a retail sales growth target of 14.5% for this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect retail sales to increase 12.5% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate. In 2015, the panel foresees a slightly higher expansion in retail sales of 12.9%, which is down 0.1 percentage points over the previous month’s forecast.


Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Retail September 2014

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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