China's retail sales to reach about 48 trillion yuan by 2020 - Commerce Ministry

November 16, 2016 2:28 AM EST

Employees work extra hours to pack products at a factory during the 11.11 shopping festival, in Taicang, Jiangsu province, China, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer


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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's retail sales would reach about 48 trillion yuan ($6.99 trillion) by 2020, with average annual retail sales growth at 10 percent, the country's Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday.

E-commerce trade volume is also projected to grow at an average annual rate of about 15 percent in 2016-2020, according to a five-year plan for the country's domestic trade posted on the ministry's website.

Beijing has pledged to transform the economy into one more reliant on consumption than exports, and cut overcapacity in industrial sectors, amid stubbornly weak external demand.

The plan laid out nine "major tasks" to achieve the growth targets, such as pushing bricks-and-mortar businesses to transform and innovate, and modernizing traditional sectors such as agriculture.

Domestic consumption will contribute significantly more to China's economic growth during 2016-2020, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

China's total retail sales stood at 30.1 trillion yuan ($4.38 trillion) by 2015, with an average growth rate for the 2011-2015 period at 13.8 percent, the ministry said.

Disappointing retail sales figures in October raised some concerns around domestic consumption as sales growth cooled to a five-month low of 10.0 percent from 10.7 percent in September, official data showed on Monday.

But a spokesman from the statistics bureau insisted the growth in consumption is stable and there is no problem in achieving this year's GDP growth targets.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)



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