Business

China says consumption growth likely to slow further this year

BEIJING: Consumption growth in China is "very likely" to slow further this year as the economy cools, the commerce ministry said yesterday, underlining the rising risks facing the Asian giant as it navigates a trade war with the US.

Chinese authorities have rolled out a flurry of support measures to temper the effects of the trade dispute on businesses and investment, and are counting on the nation's vast consumer base to cushion a broader economic slowdown.

"The medium- to long-term accumulated contradictions and risks throughout economic development are going to become more prominent in 2019," Mr Wang Bin, a commerce ministry official told reporters.

"The pressure facing the consumer market will increase and consumption growth is very likely to slow further."

Mr Wang said softness in retail sales last year, which saw growth averaging 9 percent for the slowest in 15 years, was due to "periodic" weakness in car sales and housing-related spending, though other categories continue to post "relatively normal" growth.

Sales in the world's biggest auto market shrank for the first time since the 1990s.

Japan's Panasonic Corp last week cut its annual profit outlook after disappointing quarterly earnings it blamed on slowing Chinese demand for auto components and factory equipment. - REUTERS

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