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Trade: China's rural retail sales top $243b in H1
Updated: 2008-08-01 14:19

China's combined retail sales in rural areas reached 1.62 trillion yuan ($243 billion) in the first half, up 20 percent from the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) revealed on Thursday.

The growth rate was 5.7 percentage points higher than that of the first half last year, said the MOFCOM in a statement on its website.

Experts held that this indicated greater spending confidence among rural dwellers with their increasing income.

Chinese farmers' per-capita cash income stood at 2,528 yuan from January to June, up 19.8 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week.

However, the increase was still 2.1 percentage points lower than the retail sales rise in urban areas.

"Commerce departments at all levels have assisted rural areas in tiding over the severe winter weather and the effects of the May 12 earthquake to secure market supplies of daily necessities and agricultural materials," said the ministry.

Prices of agricultural products kept rising amid increasing market demand. Agricultural product wholesale prices increased by 22.9 percent in the first half.

China has about 900 million rural dwellers.

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