Hong Kong: Decline in retail sales accelerates in May
June 30, 2016
In May, retail sales fell 9.0% over the same month last year, which represented a sharper contraction compared to the 7.6% decrease registered in April. Looking at the data in detail, May’s harsher decrease was driven by the decline in sales in 12 of 15 retail outlet subcategories. The steepest declines were observed in the sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods and jewelry. The increase in sales of commodities in supermarkets, medicine and cosmetics, as well as food and alcoholic drinks and tobacco, were not enough to prevent the seventh consecutive overall decline in retail sales.
Retail sales increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% in the three-month period ending in May compared to the three-month period ending in February. May’s figure represents an improvement over the 3.1% decrease recorded in April.
A government spokesman indicated that, “retail sales stayed weak in May, with many types of retail outlet still registering year-on-year declines in sales. This was due partly to the drag from the slowdown in inbound tourism and partly to the more cautious local consumer sentiment amid the subpar economic conditions. The near-term outlook for retail sales is still subject to a large degree of uncertainty, depending on the performance of inbound tourism as well as the extent to which local consumption sentiment will be affected by the increased external headwinds and heightened financial market volatility.”
Author: Luis Lopez Vivas, Economist