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China retail sales rise 22% in October
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China's retail sales grew at a slower annual rate of 22 percent in October due to easing inflation and weak consumption sentiment amid a slowing economy.

Sales reached 1.008 trillion yuan (US$148 billion) last month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced on Wednesday. The pace was down from 23.2 percent in both September and August and 23.3 percent in July.

Retail sales in the year to October rose 22 percent annually to 8.8 trillion yuan, according to the NBS.

Grain and edible oil sales rose 10.2 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with 28.6 percent in the first three quarters.

Sales of meat, poultry and eggs rose 13.1 percent and car sales rose 19.6 percent, down from 25.6 percent and 29.1 percent, respectively, in the year to September.

Rises in consumer prices slowed to 4 percent in October, easing for a sixth month and off from the nearly 12-year-high of 8.7 percent in February.

Many consumers also cut back on spending on the slowing economy, grim corporate outlook, and plunge on the stock market.

The economy expanded 9 percent annually in the third quarter, down from 10.1 percent in the second quarter and 10.6 percent in the first quarter.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has fallen 70 percent from its peak in mid-October last year. It slid 15.05 points, or 0.82 percent, to 1,828.56 before the noon break as the dismal sales number added fresh concerns over an economic slowdown.

Economic data released on Tuesday showed October export growth slowed further to 19.2 percent from 21.5 percent in September.

"In the long term, economic growth should rely more on consumption, rather than on exports," said Zhang Yansheng, director of International Economic Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission.

(Xinhua News Agency November 12, 2008)

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