People walk outside the Taikoo Li Sanlitun mall in the Sanlitun shopping area on Aug. 31, 2021.

Artyom Ivanov | TASS | Getty Images

BEIJING — China’s retail sales grew a disappointing 2.5% in August from a year ago as the country dealt with the worst outbreak of Covid-19 since its initial spread in early 2020.

Data on consumer spending released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday came in well below the 7% growth forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.

Industrial production growth was also slightly below expectations, up 5.3% in August versus predictions of 5.8% growth.

Fixed asset investment for the first eight months of the year rose 8.9% from a year ago, the data showed..

Mainland China controlled a late July outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant by mid-August. Under Beijing’s “zero tolerance” policy, authorities had imposed travel restrictions and local lockdowns within the country during a major part of the summer holidays.

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Figures for last month also compare to a higher base than the first half of the year as China had already mostly emerged from the height of the coronavirus pandemic last summer.

The unemployment rate in cities remained unchanged from July at 5.1% in August, while that for people aged 16 to 24 fell slightly to 15.3%.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

— CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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