China's retail sales posted a 13.7% year-on-year increase for July, reaching US$75.1 billion, the National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday. Acknowledged to be the principal indicator of consumer spending levels, retail sales for the first seven months of the year were RMB4.246 trillion, up 13.4% on the same period in 2005. However, foreign direct investment in China fell 1.2% to US$32.71 billion over the first seven months, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the data. Actual direct foreign investment was US$4.28 billion, down 5.5% year-on-year, although the decline was not as steep as the 12.2% fall seen in June. The slowdown has been linked to alterations in the rules controlling foreign investment as part of wider efforts to rein in the Chinese economy.