China Retail


China: Growth in retail sales falls to nine-year low in January-February

March 11, 2015

In the first two months of the year, nominal retail sales grew 10.7% over the same period last year. The National Bureau of Statistics releases combined January and February figures to avoid seasonal effects stemming from the Chinese New Year holiday. The reading was below the 11.9% increase recorded in December and represented the softest expansion since February 2006. The deceleration, which undershot market expectations of an 11.6% expansion, reflected an outright contraction in oil and oil-related products as well as weaker growth in clothing and footwear.

Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.93% in February (January: +0.90% 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 12.0% to 11.8% in February, which represented the lowest reading since July 2004.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect retail sales to increase 12.2% in 2015, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate. In 2016, the panel foresees a slightly higher expansion in retail sales of 12.2%.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China Retail Chart

China Retail February 2015

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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