BEIJING • China's November retail sales grew at their weakest pace since 2003 and industrial output rose the least in nearly three years as domestic demand softened further, underlining rising risks to the economy as China works to defuse a trade dispute with the United States.
The world's second-largest economy has been losing momentum in recent quarters as a multi-year government campaign to curb shadow lending put increasing financial strains on companies in a blow to production and investment.
The slowdown in Chinese industries has started to weigh on consumer sentiment this year, tapping the brakes on retail sales. Big-ticket items have been the first to be hit, with auto sales declining since May.
Retail sales rose 8.1 per cent last month from that a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed yesterday, below expectations for an 8.8 per cent rise and the slowest since May 2003. In October, sales increased 8.6 per cent.
Auto sales fell a sharp 10 per cent from a year earlier. The slump was in line with data released by China's top auto industry association, which showed sales dived 14 per cent in November - the steepest drop in nearly seven years.
Industrial output rose 5.4 per cent last month, missing analysts' estimates and matching the rate of growth seen in January-February 2016. It had been expected to grow 5.9 per cent, unchanged from October's pace.