Hong Kong: Fall in retail sales softens in July
August 29, 2016
Although tourist visitors increased for the first time in July after 13 months of successive drops, the effect on retail sales appears to have been limited. In July, retail sales fell 8.5% over the same month last year, which represented a slight improvement over the 9.6% decrease recorded in June. July’s reading, which was the ninth consecutive decline, mainly reflected a plunge in sales of jewelry and watches as well as in consumer durable goods. Conversely, a mild recovery in sales of clothing, footwear and cosmetics was behind the modest improvement over June’s reading.
Retail sales were flat in the three-month period ending in July compared to the three-month period ending in April. July’s figure was down from the seasonally-adjusted 1.9% increase recorded in June.
A government spokesman indicated that, “retail sales were still weak in July, although the decline on a year-on-year basis was slightly narrower than in the preceding two months. The performance in July was mainly dragged by the fall in visitor spending on some big-ticket items, and also reflected the more cautious local consumer sentiment amid an uncertain economic outlook. Looking ahead, the near-term outlook for retail sales will continue to depend on the performance of inbound tourism and on whether the various external uncertainties would affect local consumer sentiment.”
Author: David Ampudia, Economist