China / Top Stories

Retail sales growth strongest in a year

By Xin Zhiming (China Daily) Updated: 2016-12-14 07:30

China's retail sales growth picked up to 10.8 percent year-on-year in November, the highest this year. This, together with other improving indicators, shows the economy may be stabilizing, analysts said.

The retail sales growth is the highest since December 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. In the same month, industrial output rose by 6.2 percent year-on-year, up from 6.1 percent in October.

Urban fixed-asset investment growth was 8.3 percent in the first 11 months, unchanged from the January-October period, while private investment growth increased by 3.1 percent in the first 11 months, up from 2.9 percent in the first 10 months.

Those data show that "the economy's internal growth momentum has moderately improved", said Liang Hong, chief economist of China International Capital Corp. "Economic growth is expected to remain stable (in coming months)," she said.

Despite improving indicators, private investment, which to a large extent indicates the vitality of the corporate sector, and home sales, which is a main driver of growth for China this year, have shown signs of weakening, casting a shadow on the prospects of the Chinese economy next year.

Growth of private investment fell to 4.93 percent year-on-year in November from 5.9 percent in October, according to a Reuters calculation.

Growth in home sales slowed to the lowest rate in a year in November as more cities tried to prevent prices from continuing to surge. New construction starts rose by just 3.3 percent year-on-year after soaring by 20 percent in October. "(The data) indicate tightening policies in the sector may have started to kick in," said Zhao Yang, chief China economist with Nomura Securities.

"We still need to wait for some months to monitor whether the economy has really been anchored," said Hu Shaowei, an economist with the State Information Center. "Home sales may significantly cool in the first quarter of next year and a serious fall in real estate investment could occur even later," he said.

As the economy remains largely stable, China's monetary stance is expected to remain unchanged and focus will be put on risk control, said Liu Dongliang, an analyst with China Merchants Securities.

Also on Tuesday, the Ministry of Finance said China's annual fiscal revenue growth slowed to 3.1 percent in November from 5.9 percent in October. The slower growth was mainly due to a decline in tax revenues, which fell 2.5 percent in November, down from a 7.2 percent gain in October.

Wang Yanfei contributed to this story.


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