Retail sales up 9.5% in first two months
China’s retail sales rose 9.5 percent year-on-year in the first two months of the year, missing market expectations of 10.6 percent, official data showed. It was the first time growth fell below 10 percent in 11 years.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attributed the slower growth to cooling auto sales, which fell 1 percent from a year earlier after the country raised purchase tax rates on small cars from 5 percent to 7.5 percent this year.
After deducting the auto sales factor, China’s retail sales expanded 10.2 percent during the period, flat compared with the increase registered in the same two months last year.
Retail sales of consumer goods totaled $840 billion (5.8 trillion yuan) during the January-February period, according to NBS data.
China is trying to shift its economy toward a growth model driven more by consumer spending, innovation and services while weaning it off reliance on exports and investment. (Photo 2)
A volunteer helps to complete a health check of an endangered Yangtze porpoise at a nature reserve in Hubei province. The species is known as a finless porpoise because it lacks a dorsal fin. The finless porpoise has about a decade until extinction unless it is elevated to the nation’s topclass protected species list, national political advisers from the province warned.