China’s retail sales maintain recovery trend with growth of 3.5% from Jan to Feb: NBS
Published: Mar 15, 2023 01:40 PM
People shop at a shopping mall in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Jan. 23, 2023. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

People shop at a shopping mall in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Jan. 23, 2023. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

China's retail sales in the first two months of 2023 maintained a growth of 3.5 percent, data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed, reflecting an upward trend in the sector following China's optimization of its COVID-19 response.

Retail data was a component of economic performance figures released on Wednesday, plus data such as the total value added of the industrial enterprises above the designated size and fixed-asset investment and the employment, said Fu Linghui, a spokesperson from the NBS, adding that "China's overall economic performance is showing a trend toward stabilization and recovery."

Total retail sales hit 7.71 trillion yuan ($1.12 trillion) in January and February, a year-on-year increase of 3.5 percent, according to NBS figures released on Wednesday. The growth contrasts to a 1.8 percent contraction in December 2022.

China's catering industry is experiencing a rapid recovery, with a growth of 9.2 percent in the first two months, up from a decrease of 14.1 percent in December of 2022. 

Online retail sales reached 2.05 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.2 percent.  

Regarding the driving force behind the economic growth, Fu said that the key is to lift the domestic demand, as the external environment remains uncertain and volatile.

"We still need to put our strength on the basis of our own development, promote the expansion of domestic demand and stabilize economic growth," he said. 

Fu said that stimulating consumer spending will improve compared with last year as Chinese shoppers show an increased willingness to spend money.

"With the gradual recovery of employment and the growth of residents' income, the consumption will significantly improve the overall economic performance," Fu said.

China will aim for GDP growth of around 5 percent in 2023 and CPI increase of around 3 percent, according to this year's Government Work Report delivered at the first session of the 14th National People's Congress.

Noting that the foundation for stable growth needs to be consolidated and insufficient demand remains an acute problem, the report said, "We should give priority to the recovery and expansion of consumption."  

Global Times