August industrial production, retail sales

August was marked by sweltering temperatures in parts of China, leading to temporary power rationing in some areas. Pictured here on August 24, 2022, the skyline of the central city of Chongqing is shown with the lights partially turned off to conserve energy during a heat wave.

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BEIJING – China on Friday released data that showed a rebound in growth in August from the previous month. The data also came in above expectations across the board.

Retail sales grew 5.4% in August from a year ago, topping Reuters’ forecasts for 3.5% growth. Restaurant sales were up 8.4% in August from a year ago, while auto and food sales grew exponentially. This helped retail sales grow in the year to August by 0.5% compared to last year. Cosmetics and home furnishing were among the few categories that showed a decline in sales in August from last year.

Online physical merchandise sales rose 12.8% in August from a year ago, faster than their 10.1% growth in July, according to CNBC calculations of official data.

Industrial production rose 4.2% in August from a year earlier, exceeding the 3.8% increase estimated in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Investment in fixed assets for the first eight months of the year rose 5.8% above the 5.5% increase forecast by Reuters. Manufacturing investment is up 10% from the same period last year. Infrastructure investment grew at a slower pace than in July, on a year-over-year basis.

Real estate investment for the year is down further from August, down 7.4% from the same period last year versus a 5.2% drop in the year as of July.

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The unemployment rate for youth aged 16-24 fell to 18.7% in August. It remained well above the city’s overall unemployment rate, which was 5.3% in August, down slightly from the previous month.

“In general, the national economy has withstood the impacts of multiple unexpected factors and has continued the momentum of recovery and growth with key indicators showing positive changes,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a press release. “However, we must realize that the international environment is still complex and dangerous and that the basis for domestic economic recovery is not solid.”

The Chinese economy has remained under pressure in part due to Covid controls, which notably Tens of thousands of tourists were stranded on the tropical island of Hainan in August.

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