China: Rising retail trade reflects robust private consumption
May 11, 2011
In April, nominal retail sales grew 17.1% over the same month last year. The reading undershot market expectations of a 17.6% increase and the 17.4% expansion registered in March. In the first four months of the year, retail sales gained 16.5% (Q1: +16.3% year-on-year). The increase in retail sales partly reflects strong growth in petroleum and related products, which rose 39.7% (March: +43.8% yoy). On the other hand, automobile sales rose a more subdued 13.2% (March: +18.7%) over the previous month, influenced by rising fuel prices and slowing deliveries from Japan. The increase in consumption was in line with rising levels of consumer confidence seen in April, owing to falling food prices, according to the survey conducted by Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay. Seasonally adjusted data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics for the first time this past month shows that retail sales expanded 1.35% in April over the previous month, overshooting March's reading of 1.31%.