China's retail sales up 16.9% in 2009

10:13, January 21, 2010      

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China's retail sales rose 16.9 percent year on year in 2009 in real terms, adjusted for inflation, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced at a press conference Thursday.

The growth rate was 2.1 percentage points higher than that in 2008.

The volume of retail sales totalled 12.53 trillion yuan (1.84 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier.

The December growth rate was 17.5 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.

For the whole year, urban retail sales increased 15.5 percent year on year to 8.51 trillion yuan, while those in counties and areas under county-level climbed 15.7 percent to 4.02 trillion yuan.

The government has put into place a basket of stimulus measures, including government subsidies and tax breaks for home appliances and cars, to expand consumption to sustain the economic growth, which was slowed by a slump in exports amid the global economic downturn.

Yao Jian, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said on Jan. 15 that the government's stimulus packages had been effective in bolstering consumption. Consumption would make a bigger contribution to the economic growth in 2009, he said.

Auto sales in 2009 surged 46.15 percent to 13.64 million units, lifting China to the world top auto market, backed by halving the purchase tax to 5 percent on vehicles with a displacement of less than 1.6 liters in January last year.

The tax cut incentive has extended to this year, with purchase tax being raised to 7.5 percent, still lower effective as of Jan.1 this year.

Source: Xinhua
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