Retail sales in China were up by 16.4% in July compared to the same time last year, according to official government statistics published today (14 Aug).

The National Bureau of Statistics said that retail sales reached CNY699.8bn (US$92.3bn) in July, 16.4% higher than in July 2006.

Increases in food categories reflected sharp rises in food prices, the agency said. Sales of grain and oil were up by 45%, while meat, poultry and eggs sales rose by 51%.

Yesterday (13 Aug), the Chinese government stated that food prices in July had risen by 15.4% from July 2006.

On a year-to-date basis, retail sales for the January to July period totalled in excess of CNY4.9 trillion (US$644.7bn), up by 15.5%.

While Beijing is trying to boost domestic consumption and reduce the economy’s reliance on exports, retail spending growth is still lagging behind growth in exports which climbed by more than 34% year-on-year in July.

In urban regions, inflation-adjusted per capita disposable income rose by 14.2% to CNY7,052 in the first half of this year, while in rural regions it showed a 13.3% increase to CNY2,111.