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China: Growth in retail sales slows to an over nine-year low in April

May 13, 2015

In April, nominal retail sales grew 10.0% over the same month last year, which was down from the 10.2% increase tallied in March and represented the softest expansion since February 2006. The reading, which undershot the 10.4% increase that market analysts had expected, mostly reflected a contraction in oil and oil-related products as well as weaker growth in household appliances and clothes and textiles.

Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.74% in April (March: +0.64% 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 March’s 11.6% to 11.4% in April, which represented the lowest reading since June 2004.

The government set a retail sales growth target of 13.0% for this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect retail sales to increase 11.7% in 2015, which is down 0.6 percentage points from last month’s estimate. In 2016, the panel also foresees an expansion in retail sales of 11.7%.


Author: Ricard Torné, Head of Economic Research

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China Retail April 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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