China: Retail sales contract at sharpest pace since April 2020 in March
Retail sales declined 3.5% in year-on-year terms in March, which contrasted January–February’s 6.7% increase. March’s figure marked the worst reading since April 2020, came in notably below market expectations and was driven by widespread Covid-19 lockdowns. Jewelry, catering services, clothing, furniture and vehicle sales suffered particularly steep declines in March.
On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, retail sales fell 1.9% in March (February: +0.2% mom), the worst result since July 2021. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth fell to 6.5% in March (February: +9.9%), signaling a worsening trend in the retail trade sector.