[BEIJING] China’s retail sales rose 10.2 per cent year-on-year in July, government statistics showed Friday, missing expectations in a disappointing sign for growth in the Asian giant.
The figure was a sharp slowdown from the 10.6 per cent increase in June, and came in below the median forecast of a 10.5 per cent rise in a Bloomberg News poll of economists.
Industrial output in the world’s second-largest economy rose 6 per cent in July over the year before, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, while fixed asset investment (FAI), a gauge of infrastructure spending, rose 8.1 per cent in the first seven months of the year.
Those figures also missed expectations, with factory output expected to show 6.2 per cent growth and FAI 8.9 per cent growth.
Beijing is looking to retool the economy from a reliance on investment spending and exports to one driven more by consumer demand, but the transition is proving bumpy and gross domestic product growth is slowing.
The NBS said in a statement China’s economy was “basically steady” in July but said that “serious disasters” from flooding and high temperatures in some parts of the country caused some indicators to slow.
“However, overall economic development kept performing in a proper range with steady pace, as a result of stable employment and prices, deepened supply-side structural reform and accumulated new impetus,” it said.
China should “unswervingly advance” supply-side structural reform and expand aggregate demand, it added. Beijing has listed reducing overcapacity and excess inventory and cutting down borrowing as top priorities, with the country’s ailing steel industry a key target.