Workers assemble cars at a workshop in Shenyang,  Liaoning province. Photo: AFP
Workers assemble cars at a workshop in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Photo: AFP

Consumers, buoyed by strong gains in property prices and better job prospects, lifted China’s retail sales growth to 10.8% from a year ago in November, the fastest clip of 2016 and a bounce-back from October’s slump.

The surge adds to mounting evidence, including strong foreign trade data released last week, that China’s economy will have a strong finish to the year.

Automobile sales growth – accounting for 13% of the overall figure – jumped to 13.1%, up from October’s 8.7%. Gasoline and fuel categories reported a 5.7% gain against a flat 0.1% during the first ten months. It is unclear whether the central government’s tax breaks on sales of small cars will be extended beyond 2016, a factor which likely influenced the uptick.

Mobiles phones and home appliances also saw sharp sales accelerations, of 17.8% and 14.7%, respectively. These are perennially popular items for online shoppers, who once again excelled themselves during this year’s November 11 “Singles Day” shopping festival.

The sales expansion left the consensus forecast of 10.2% in the rearview mirror and recovered the lost ground from the previous month’s 0.7 percentage point deceleration to 10.0%.

Excluding changes in prices, inflation-adjusted retail growth also rebounded to 9.2% from the previous month’s 8.8%, albeit it still has some way to go before reclaiming this year’s 10.3% high, seen in June.

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