China's retail sales rise by 4.9% in October, beat expectations
Updated 14:52, 15-Nov-2021
A shopping center in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, November 9, 2021. /CFP

A shopping center in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, November 9, 2021. /CFP

China's retail sales of consumer goods rose by 4.9 percent in October from a year earlier, while value-added industrial output went up by 3.5 percent year on year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Monday.

Both retail sales and industrial output beat expectations. Reuters and Bloomberg had predicted a growth for October retail sales of 3.5 percent and 3.8 percent respectively, while both estimated a rise of 3 percent for industrial output.

"The breakdown of the industrial production data shows that the improvement was driven by growth in mining and utility sectors," Lu Ting, chief China economist of Nomura said in a note. The mining and utility sectors saw an increase of 6 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively.

The economist believed that the improvement in retail sales could be driven by inflation, which pushed headline retail sales in nominal terms, and panic buying that started in October end.

"We believe the increased emphasis on the 'zero-COVID' strategy will weigh more on retail sales before and during the upcoming Winter Olympics in February 2022," said Lu.

In the first 10 months, fixed asset investment – a gauge of expenditures on items including infrastructure, property, machinery and equipment – climbed up by 6.1 percent from a year ago, slightly below the 6.2-percent rise expected by both Reuters and Bloomberg.

The surveyed jobless rate held remained unchanged from September and stood at 4.9 percent in October, according to the NBS. China has set a target of a 5.5 percent unemployment rate for the whole year.

China's economy has shown continued recovery from the pandemic, but due to the COVID-19 resurgence, floods and high base, its economic growth in the third quarter slowed to 4.9 percent year on year, receding from 7.9 percent in the second quarter and marking a further deceleration from the 18.3-percent jump in the first quarter.

Last week, the country's factory-gate inflation hit a 26-year high in October, while consumer prices rose slightly amid public concern over food shortages.

China's U.S. dollar exports rose 27.1 percent year on year October, beating estimates as global demands remain strong and energy demand grows.

Lu expected the industrial output growth to slow again to 3.2 percent year on year in November from 3.5 percent in October, and retail sales growth to slow to 4.6 percent year on year. The economist forecasted the economic growth in the fourth quarter to be 3 percent year on year.

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