Chinese retail sales fall more than expected and industrial production slows due to zero-covid policy

Chinese authorities released weaker-than-expected economic data today (Dec. 15) due to the tightening of measures to curb COVID-19, which has affected a wide range of economic activities. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported a 5.9% year-on-year decline in retail sales for November. This was worse than the 3.7% drop expected by analysts and a steeper decline than the 0.5% drop in October.

China’s industrial production rose only 2.2% year over year in November. This is less than analysts had expected, who had anticipated a 3.6% increase, and represents a slowdown from October’s expansion.

Fixed capital formation increased by 5.3% year-on-year in the January-November period. This was less than analysts had expected, who had anticipated a 5.6% increase, and slowed from the 5.8% growth in the January-October period.

China’s unemployment rate was 5.7% in November, down from 5.5% in October, while housing prices in a total of 70 large and medium-sized cities declined in November.

China continues to ease COVID-19 control measures and is trending toward opening up the country. However, analysts predict that the increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 will affect the growth of the Chinese economy.

China is also under pressure due to weakening global demand. China’s exports fell by 8.7% year-on-year in November, while imports declined by 10.6%.

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