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China retail sales decline worst in two years

(Source: Bigstock)

China’s retail sales in April saw the biggest contraction since March 2020, dropping 11.1 per cent year on year to RMB3.8 trillion (US$559 billion) due to Covid-19 restrictions.

According to National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), sales of goods plummeted by 9.7 per cent year on year, while the catering sector saw a 22.7 per cent drop in sales as dining-out services were suspended and restricted in some regions.

In the first four months of this year, the retail sales of consumer goods reached RMB13,8 trillion (US$2.033 trillion), shrinking 0.2 per cent year on year. However, online retail sales increased 3.3 per cent year on year as demand surged, generating RMB3.8 trillion.

“Since the start of this year, as the impact by the increasingly grim and complex international environment and greater shock of Covid-19 pandemic at home obviously exceeded expectations, new downward pressure on the economy continued to grow,” said NBS.

After more than six weeks of lockdown, Shanghai aims to gradually reopen businesses, including shopping malls and supermarkets from today, with hair salons and vegetable markets operating under limited capacity, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Beijing continues imposing restrictions, where dining-in services are banned and a number of malls are closed.

  • Additional reporting from Reuters.

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