BEIJING — China’s annual gross domestic product growth eased to 9.5 percent in the second quarter of 2011 from first-quarter growth of  9.7 percent, the country’s national bureau of statistics said Wednesday.


The second-quarter growth rate was slightly better than expected and demonstrates that the world’s second-largest economy continues to show strong activity, with retail sales climbing more than expected for the month of June.


“The national economy showed a good momentum of development, and kept moving towards the expected direction of macro control,” a bureau spokesman said in a press release.


Retail sales rose 17.7 percent in June, compared to the same period last year, which was stronger than May’s 16.9 percent growth, and better than the expected 17 percent increase. Total retail sales of consumer goods from January to June grew 16.8 percent compared to the first half of 2010, with gains of 23.9 percent in the garment, footwear, hats and knitwear segment,  49.6 percent for gold and silver jewelry and 20 percent for cosmetics.


This strong growth in consumption comes in spite of high inflation and weaker consumer sentiment, and partly explains why the June consumer price index jumped to 6.4 percent. One underlying reason is wage increases, especially among lower income tiers, suggesting the government’s economic shift towards domestic demand for goods is well underway.


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