China’s retail sales grew much slower than expected in August

People walk in front of Taikoo Li Sanlitun Shopping Mall in Sanlitun Shopping District on August 31, 2021.

Artiom Ivanov | TASS | Getty Images

BEIJING – China’s retail sales rose 2.5% in August from a year ago, as the country faced the worst outbreak of Covid-19 since its initial spread in early 2020.

Data on consumer spending released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday is well below the 7% growth forecast from analysts polled by Reuters.

Growth in industrial production was also slightly lower than expected, up 5.3% in August against a forecast of 5.8% growth.

Capital investment for the first eight months of the year was up 8.9% from a year ago, the data showed.

Mainland China controlled an outbreak in late July of the highly contagious delta variant in mid-August. As part of Beijing’s “zero tolerance” policy, authorities had imposed travel restrictions and local blockages inside the country for much of the summer vacation.

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Last month’s numbers also compare to a higher base than the first half of the year, with China already largely emerging from the peak of the coronavirus pandemic last summer.

The unemployment rate in cities was unchanged from July at 5.1% in August, while that of those aged 16 to 24 edged down to 15.3%.

This is last minute news. Please check for updates.

– CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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