Hong Kong Retail

Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Contraction in retail sales eases in May

July 3, 2014

In May, retail sales tumbled 4.7% over the same month last year, which followed the revised 9.6% drop tallied in April (previously reported: -9.5% year-on-year). April’s contraction represented the steepest fall since February 2009. May’s decrease exceeded the 3.8% decline that markets had expected. Significantly lower sales of jewelry and valuable gifts as well as of fuels and consumer durable goods were behind the monthly decrease.

A government spokesman stated that retail sales were, “mainly dragged by the notable fall in the sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts, conceivably indicating lower tourist spending on some major big-ticket items against a still high base of comparison in May last year.” The spokesman also noted that further down the road, “the still favourable job and income conditions should provide some support to local consumer sentiment, but the near-term outlook of retail sales business will continue to be clouded by the base effects and the changing visitor spending pattern.”

Retail sales fell a seasonally-adjusted 8.9% in the three-month period up to May compared to the previous three-month period ending in February. The reading followed the 6.4% drop recorded in April.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect retail sales to expand 5.8% in 2014, which is down 4.2 percentage points over last month’s projection. Next year, the panel sees retail sales growing 7.7%.

Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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Hong Kong Retail Chart

Hong Kong Retail May 2014

Note: Year-on-year changes and annual average variation in %.
Source: Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong.

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