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Moves set to boost retail sales growth

CHINA may see a slower growth in retail sales this year as a result of the economic slowdown but the government's measures to boost the gross domestic product are expected to lift the growth rate above a 30-year average, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in report.

The growth in China's retail sales this year is set to exceed 14.4 percent, the average annual growth for the past 30 years, but it is expected to be lower than a 21.6-percent rise last year, the academy said in the report.

Total retail sales expanded 15.2 percent in this year's first two months.

The report also noted China's stock market is not likely to recover strongly this year as investors are still concerned over falling exports, shrinking investment and a weak consumer market as a result of the global financial crisis.

The academy also said the sagging property market will not pick up robustly this year and companies with high reliance on exports are faced with mounting operational difficulties as real economies overseas continued to deteriorate. As a result, the domestic consumption market will feel the pressure from slower income rises and less spending.

But China has relatively high level of bank savings, which could help the country offset the risks of a negative sales growth, the report said.

According to the World Bank, consumption accounted for less than 50 percent of China's economic growth. The global average was 62 percent.

The central government has rolled out measures to boost domestic consumption and cut reliance on exports. In addition to the 4-trillion-yuan (US$586 billion) stimulus packages, government subsidies on home appliance and vehicle purchases in rural areas and a 850-billion-yuan plan to reform the country's health care system were also announced.


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