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Retail sales surge at quickest pace since 1999
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China's retail sales rose 18.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in October, the fastest pace in almost eight years, the National Bureau of Statistics announced this morning.


Sales jumped to 826.3 billion yuan (US$111 billion) in October from a year earlier after gaining 17 percent in September, the most since 1999 when the government started releasing numbers.


The soaring rise in sales was reported just a day after the bureau said the country's consumer price index shot up 6.5 percent in October, the highest rate in more than a decade, boosted by uncurbed food costs.


Sales of meat, poultry and eggs rose 45.4 percent in October from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said, while sales of grain and edible oil soared 45.1 percent.


Automobile sales jumped 36.1 percent and jewelry sales climbed 37.5 percent. Spending on clothes and shoes increased 32.6 percent and furniture sales rose 41.7 percent, the bureau said.


Spending in towns and cities jumped 18.6 percent in October from a year ago while rural sales increased 17.1 percent, the bureau added.


China has boosted minimum wages, expanded welfare payments and reduced a tax on interest income to fatten consumers' wallets.


For the first 10 months of this year, retail sales climbed 16.1 percent from a year earlier to 7.2 trillion yuan. China's economy has expanded by more than 11 percent for three straight quarters as exports soar.


Disposable incomes among urban households, after adjusting for inflation, rose 13.2 percent in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier, while those in rural areas climbed 14.8 percent.


(Shanghai Daily November 14, 2007)

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