Business / Economy

China 2014 retail sales up 12%

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-20 14:10

BEIJING - China's retail sales rose 12 percent year on year in 2014 to 26.24 trillion yuan ($4.28 trillion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, continued to accelerate in December, rising 11.9 percent from a year earlier.

The figure was up from November's 11.7 percent and October's 11.5 percent.

"Retail sales strengthened, suggesting some progress in much-needed economic rebalancing from investment towards consumption," Nomura economists wrote in a research note after the release of economic data.

Retail sales growth in rural areas outpaced that in urban China. Last year, sales in rural regions rose 12.9 percent from a year ago, while sales in urban areas climbed 11.8 percent.

Online sales showed robust growth, soaring 49.7 percent year on year in 2014 to 2.79 trillion yuan.

Consumption has been a bright spot in the Chinese economy, which is confronting slowing domestic investment growth and a weak global recovery.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.4 percent in 2014, registering its weakest expansion in 24 years.

Consumption contributed 51.2 percent to GDP growth last year, three percentage points more than the previous year.

Looking ahead at 2015, retail sales are expected to rise 12.2 percent year on year, according to a working paper published last month by a group of economists of the People's Bank of China.

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