China’s retail sales and industrial production have risen in the first two months of 2023, despite a decline in real estate investment, according to data released on Tuesday (March 15) by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The NBS reported that retail sales for January and February increased 3.5%, in line with expectations. Most product categories experienced a rise in retail sales, but sales of high-priced goods such as cars and household appliances declined. Meanwhile, online merchandise sales rose 5.3% compared to 2022.
Industrial production for January and February increased by 2.4%, although this was below analysts’ expectations of a 2.6% rise. Fixed asset investment grew by 5.5% during the same period, higher than the expected 4.4% growth.
However, real estate investment declined by 5.7% in January and February compared to 2022, with the sector seeing a 10% drop in investment over the whole of last year. Infrastructure and manufacturing investment also increased at a slower rate compared to the same period in 2022.
While the tourism and restaurant sectors have seen some recovery, overall consumer spending remains weak. The unemployment rate in other cities rose to 5.6% in February, with the rate for young people aged 16 to 24 remaining consistently high at 18.1%.
Despite these challenges, the business sector survey indicates an increase in activity in the manufacturing sector. The NBS has urged the government to boost market confidence to achieve the appropriate quantitative economic growth target.