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China Retail February 2021

China: Retail sales expand strongly in January–February

Retail sales grew 33.8% in January–February, up from December’s 4.6% year-on-year increase. Looking at subsectors, car sales and catering services performed particularly well in the period.

On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 0.6% in February, contrasting January’s 1.4% decline. Meanwhile, the annual average variation of retail sales came in at 4.7% in February.

Stronger private spending should be an important growth driver this year—after lagging other indicators such as industrial production in 2020—as sentiment improves and the labor market strengthens. Regarding the near-term outlook, analysts at Nomura commented:

“We expect the sequential recovery momentum in retail sales, especially catering services, to gather pace in March, due mainly to the fast containment of the latest wave of Covid-19 and a gradual relaxation of some social distancing measures.”

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