Chinese retail sales in July rose 16.4 percent year-on-year to reach 699.8 billion yuan (US$92 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday.
The retail sales volume totaled more than 4.9 trillion yuan (US$644.7 billion) from January to July, up 15.5 percent.
Retail sales volume of the housing and catering sectors went up by 18 percent to 92.3 billion yuan (US$12 billion) and that of the wholesale and retail sectors were up 16.5 percent to 592.4 billion yuan (US$77.9 billion).
Sales of grain and oil rose by 45 percent and that of meat, poultry and eggs by 51 percent.
Retail sales in the first half rose 15.4 percent, which is 2.1 percentage points higher than the figure of the same period last year, according to the NBS.
"The changes in domestic demand since the beginning of the year are what we have expected," said NBS spokesman Li Xiaochao. He attributed the fast growth in consumption to the rapid growth in people's income and spending.
In urban regions, the inflation-adjusted disposable income per capita went up 14.2 percent to 7,052 yuan in the first half of this year, four percentage points higher than the same period of last year. Meanwhile, rural residents enjoyed an income increase of 13.3 percent to 2,111 yuan, up 1.4 percentage points, according to the NBS.
Chinese wage earners spent an average of 18.13 days on vacation last year, according to a survey released by Horizonkey, a leading domestic consulting and research institute.
The good performance of Chinese enterprises in recent years and the government subsidies for low-income residents and farmers as well as higher minimum wages for rural workers helped increase the income of urban and rural residents, Li said.
China's consumer price index (CPI) rose by a 33-month-high 5.6 percent in July on food price hikes.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2007)