China’s retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 per cent year-on-year in the first half of this year to RMB17.24 trillion (US$2.55 trillion), new official data shows.
The pace was slightly faster than the 10 per cent for the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says.
Retail sales last month grew by 11 per cent year-on-year, the fastest rate since December 2015.
The NBS attributes the pick-up in growth partly to online sales, which surged 33.4 per cent year-on-year in the first half, 1.3 points higher than in the first quarter.
Online sales of goods rose 28.6 per cent to RMB2.37 trillion, accounting for 13.8 per cent of China’s total retail sales, up from a share of 11.6 per cent for the first half of last year.
NBS spokesman Xing Zhihong says the larger share proves new growth sources in the economy are rising.
Retail sales in rural areas rose 12.3 per cent in the first half, outpacing the 10.1 per cent expansion for urban areas.
Booming retail sales are behind China’s stabilising economy, which grew 6.9 per cent in the first half.
The contribution of final consumption to GDP growth stood at 63.4 per cent, slightly down from last year’s 64.6 per cent.
“Consumption demand is the most important engine of our economic growth,” says Xing.