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China’s Retail Sales Growth Slows, Missing Expectations

Visitors and shoppers walk through Shui On Group's in Shanghai, China. Getty Images.
Travel restrictions and weather have been blamed for the unexpectedly low rise in July's retail sales. Getty Images. (Qilai Shen)

China’s retail sales increased 8.5 percent in July, year-on-year, lower than the 11.5 percent increase expected by analysts, and significantly down from June’s 12.1 percent year-on-year rise, according to data released Monday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS attributed recent sputters in China’s economic recovery to sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks and natural disasters. China has tightened restrictions to fight its latest Covid-19 outbreak in several cities, hitting the travel and hospitality sectors particularly hard.

The country has also faced severe weather in several provinces, with record rainfall in Henan last month causing floods that killed more than 300 people and typhoon In-Fa making landfall on China’s east coast in late July, causing flooding in several cities, including Shanghai.

Learn more:

China’s Delta Outbreak Cuts Travel, Prompting GDP Downgrades

At least 46 cities have urged residents against traveling unless absolutely necessary, but there are uncertainties about the duration of the outbreak.

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