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China's economy leans on exports as consumer spending slows

Weak real estate market hurts consumption while US trade frictions mount

Chinese exports are increasingly vital to supporting the nation's economy.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Slowing personal consumption in China during recent months leaves the nation's economy reliant on exports, a worrying prospect as trade frictions with the U.S. heat up.

China's retail sales of consumer goods rose 9.7% on the year in the January-February period, figures published Wednesday show. Coming on the heels of a 9.4% increase in December, sales growth remained in the single digits in consecutive reporting periods for the first time in about 15 years.

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