China Retail April 2022


China: Retail sales contract at sharpest rate since March 2020 in April

May 16, 2022

Retail sales collapsed 11.1% compared to the same month of the previous year in April, which followed March's 3.5% decrease and was worse than markets were expecting. April's figure marked the lowest reading since March 2020. Vehicle, catering, clothing, jewelry and IT sales suffered particularly sharp falls, amid Covid-19 restrictions in many parts of the country.

On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, retail sales fell at a more moderate rate of 0.7% in April (March: -2.0% mom). Meanwhile, the trend pointed down, with the annual average growth of retail sales coming in at an over one-year low of 3.9%, down from March's 6.5%.

Retail sales likely continued to contract in annual terms in May, as restrictions in many parts of the country—including Shanghai—continued, and measures were tightened in Beijing due to a rise in cases in the city.

Our panelists see retail sales rising 6.6% in 2022, down 0.8 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 8.0% in 2023.


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China Retail Chart

China Retail April 2022

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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