Several “robot arms” work on the automated assembly line of final wheel hub at a production workshop in Anqing city, Anhui province, China, Dec 9, 2022.
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BEIJING — China reported economic data Thursday that missed expectations across the board during a month in which widespread Covid controls weighed on growth.
Retail sales fell by 5.9% in November from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
That’s worse than expectations for a decline of 3.7%, according to analysts polled by Reuters, and a greater drop than the 0.5% year-on-year decline in October.
Industrial production grew by 2.2% in November from a year ago, missing Reuters’ forecast for a 3.6% increase. The reported pace was also slower than the 5% increase in October.
Fixed asset investment for the year through November slowed to 5.3% year-on-year growth, missing Reuters’ expectations for a 5.6% increase. The official print was also down from 5.8% growth in the first 10 months of the year.
Investment in infrastructure picked up pace in November from October on a year-to-date basis, while that in manufacturing slowed slightly. Investment in real estate fell at a sharper pace amid the industry’s ongoing slump.
The unemployment rate in cities ticked up to 5.7% in November. The jobless rate for young people ages 16 to 24 remained a far higher 17.1%.
The decline in retail sales brought the year-to-date total down by 0.1% from the first 11 months of last year.
Food and medicine were the only sub-categories that saw sales growth in November from a year ago, according to the statistics bureau. Clothing and shoes saw sales plunge by 15.6%.
Online sales of physical goods rose by just 4% year-on-year in November, down sharply from the prior month, according to CNBC calculations of data accessed through Wind Information.
In the last two weeks, China has significantly peeled back a host of Covid-related restrictions that had hampered domestic travel and business activity. Authorities have emphasized vaccinations for elderly people, and encouraged Covid patients to recover at home.
Anecdotally, at least in Beijing, a significant share of the population has since fallen sick, if not tested positive for Covid, amid below-freezing weather.
A day before the data release, China’s National Bureau of Statistics canceled its in-person press conference set for Thursday without explanation.