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China: Growth in retail sales slows to four-month low in August

September 15, 2014

In August, nominal retail sales grew 11.9% over the same month last year. The reading was below the 12.2% increase recorded in the previous month and represented the weakest expansion that has been tallied since April of this year. The deceleration, which just undershot market expectations of a 12.1% expansion, reflected weaker growth in most of the categories that make up the indicator, with automobiles and food and beverages slowing to multi-month lows.

Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.92% in August (July: +0.87% month-on-month). As a result of the weaker print observed in August, annual average growth in retail sales inched down from July’s 12.7% to 12.6%, 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 13.1% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate. In 2015, the panel foresees a slightly higher expansion in retail sales of 13.2%.


Author: Ricard Torné, Head of Economic Research

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China Retail August 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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