China: Retail sales improve in March
April 15, 2013
In March, nominal retail sales grew 12.6% over the same month last year, which marks an improvement over the 12.3% increase seen in the January-February period - the statistical institute reports the first two months of the year together to avoid seasonal distortions related to the Lunar New Year holiday. That said, the print matched market expectations. The acceleration seen in March was mainly due to stronger growth in sales of clothes and textiles.
Compared to the previous month, retail sales expanded a seasonally adjusted 1.23% in March, following the 0.98% increase tallied in February. Building on the weak start of the year, the trend continues to point downwards, with annual average growth in retail sales falling from 13.9% in February to 13.7% in March.
The government has set a growth target of 14.5% for retail sales. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect retail sales to rise 14.9% in 2013, which is down 0.4 percentage points from last month's estimate. In 2014, the panel sees retail sales expanding 15.3%.