BEIJING, July 17 -- The growth of China's domestic consumption is expected to maintain momentum in the second half of the year, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said Wednesday.
He said the ministry believes consumption in the second half will fare slightly better than in the first half, although some restraint will remain.
Shen's remarks followed Monday's release of key economic data for the first six months. The data showed that nominal retail sales grew 12.7 percent year on year to 11.08 trillion yuan (1.8 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first half.
The growth rate increased by 0.3 percentage points from the first quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In June alone, retail sales totaled 1.88 trillion yuan, up 13.3 percent year on year, marking the fastest growth since the start of the year.
Shen said the year-on-year increases have fallen within a range that points to relatively fast consumption growth.
The growth rate has continued to rebound since March and mass consumption has also increased steadily, he added.
Consumer confidence in the short-term may be undermined by slower income growth, the exit of some stimulus measures and adjustments in the consumption structure, although a stable macro-economy in the first half will lay the foundation for steady consumption growth, according to Shen.
China has been trying to retool its economy into a consumption-led growth model in order to shift its reliance away from exports and investment.
Official data showed that China's GDP growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter from 7.7 percent during the first three months of the year, with consumption contributing to 45.2 percent of first-half GDP growth, which stood at 7.6 percent.