The benchmark consumer price index in June was 0.8 per cent lower than a year earlier, said the deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics. The fall over the first half of the year was also 0.8 per cent. The decline in the index was caused by falls in food, clothing and household goods.
Retail sales in June were 8.7 per cent higher than in the same period of 2001, and 8.6 per cent higher in the first six months of 2002. Spending by city dwellers rose by 9.7 per cent year-on-year, while people living in the countryside spent only 6.7 per cent more.