Tourists shop at a duty-free shopping mall in Sanya, Hainan province, on Oct 5, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — China”s consumer spending continued to pick up pace in October amid the effective containment of the COVID-19 epidemic and steady economic recovery at home, official data showed Monday.

China’s retail sales of consumer goods climbed 4.3 percent year-on-year to 3.86 trillion yuan (about $584.5 billion) last month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The growth picked up from the 3.3-percent gain in September after the major consumption gauge posted its first positive growth this year in August by rising 0.5 percent year-on-year.

Excluding auto consumption, retail sales went up 3.6 percent year-on-year last month.

The auto market demand also posted a robust performance last month, with sales rising 12 percent year-on-year, the fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth, while sales of new energy vehicles (NEV) doubled the level in the same month of last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

Consumption in rural areas gained 5.1 percent, outpacing a rise of 4.2 percent in urban regions. The catering industry reported a 0.8-percent increase in revenue, the first expansion this year as the hardest-hit sector struggled to recover from the coronavirus impacts.

The transport and service industries, including culture, sports and entertainment, gained vitality, with the business activity index exceeding 59 percent.

Meanwhile, the country’s courier sector handled 8 billion parcels last month, up 38.9 percent year-on-year, with a surge of more than 30 percent for seven consecutive months, the MOC said.

The wholesale price of pork monitored by the MOC edged down 4.1 percent year-on-year, down 34.1 percentage points from the previous month, declining for the first time after growing for 19 consecutive months.

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In the first 10 months, retail sales went down 5.9 percent year-on-year, with the decline narrowing by 1.3 percentage points from the drop in the first three quarters.

Online consumption remained a bright spot, with online retail sales rising 10.9 percent year-on-year in the January-October period. Online sales of physical commodities went up 16 percent year-on-year, accounting for 24.2 percent of total retail sales during the period.

With preferential policies for enterprises and consumers implemented, China’s domestic demand has seen significant recovery, laying a solid foundation for the consumer market’s faster and high-quality development, the MOC said.

Via China Daily