China's retail sales grew 15.5 percent in April from a year earlier as
rising incomes and a stock market boom encouraged the world's most populous
nation to spend.
climbed to 667.3 billion yuan ($86.8 billion) after gaining 15.3 percent in
March, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. That was the biggest
increase since May 2004 if the first two months of each year are combined to
eliminate Lunar New Year holiday distortions.
Premier Wen Jiabao is trying to boost consumption to make China less
dependent on exports and investment for growth. The world's fourth-largest
economy grew 11.1 percent in the first quarter and the benchmark CSI 300 Index
of stocks has soared more than 80 percent this year.
"This is encouraging," said Sun Mingchun, an economist at Lehman Brothers
Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. "But it's too early to say whether it can be
sustained, because part of the increase was supported by the stock market."
The gain beat the 15.1 percent median estimate of 19 economists surveyed by
Bloomberg News. For the first four months, sales increased 15.1 percent from the
same period last year to 2.8 trillion yuan.
Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings Ltd., China's biggest
electronics retailer, said profit surged 75 percent in the first quarter.
Tsingtao Brewery Co., part-owned by Anheuser-Busch Cos., posted an 18 percent
increase in net income.
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