China Sees Unexpected Slowdown in July’s Retail, Manufacturing Sectors

China’s economy slowed in July, with industrial output and retail sales missing estimates by significant percentages, signaling a weak rebound as the government shows no sign of lifting its zero-COVID policy.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday, retail sales increased 2.7% in July compared to the same month last year. That’s slower expansion than the 3.1% seen in June and way lower than the 5% expansion predicted by a Reuters poll.

In the retail sector, reductions were seen in the catering, furniture, and construction sectors.

The increase in industrial production was 3.8%, which was lower than the 3.9% shown the previous month and below the 4.6% predicted.

Real estate investment declined faster in July than in June, while manufacturing investment slowed its rate of increase.

The youth unemployment rate in China was 19.9% in the age range of 16-24. In urban areas, the unemployment rate was 5.4% overall.

The national economy has “maintained the momentum of recovery,” the statistics office said. However, it warned that “the foundation for the recovery of the domestic economy is yet to be consolidated” and that there are mounting “stagflation risks” worldwide.