China: Retail sales pick up in September
October 18, 2011
In September, nominal retail sales grew 17.7% over the same month last year, which overshot both the 17.0% increase recorded in August and market analysts' expectations of a 17.0% rise. The increase in retail sales partly reflected strong growth in automobile sales, which jumped 18.4% year-on-year in September (August: 12.4% yoy). In addition, sales of petroleum and petroleum related products added 38.7% over the same month last year (August: +38.4% yoy). Seasonally adjusted data corroborate the improvement suggested by the annual figures, with retail sales expanding 1.35% over the previous month, which came in above the previous month's 1.30%. The positive reading in retail sales was consistent with the increase seen in consumer confidence in September, which was driven by rising sales promotions during the Mid-Autumn Festival and gift purchases ahead of the National Day holiday when many people get married. The Bankcard consumer confidence index (BCII) tracks expenses of urban credit card users and is conducted by Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay.