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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 11:54 GMT
Record growth in China's shopping
Chinese food store
The Chinese government has been trying to boost domestic demand
Chinese retail sales grew at a record annual level of 18.8% in November, which is the fastest rate since records began in 1999.

The figures from the National Bureau of Statistics are not adjusted for inflation, so they are flattered by rising prices.

Consumer inflation hit an 11-year high of 6.9% in China last month.

Nonetheless, the figures reflect the Chinese government's attempts to promote domestic consumption.

"This is important in the big scheme of things, because it reflects what is becoming a more and more pronounced policy direction for regional authorities to try and stoke up domestic demand," said Dwyfor Evans from State Street Global Markets in Hong Kong.

Among the big drivers of retail sales, spending on grain and edible oil jumped 48%, sales of meat, eggs and poultry were up 45%, building materials rose 57% and furniture was up 60%.

Promoting domestic demand is the Chinese government's primary means of controlling its trade surplus without reining in growth.

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