Hong Kong: Retail sales accelerate in December
February 1, 2011
In December, retail sales rose 15.9% over the same month last year. The figure was above both the 15.4% increase recorded in November and market analyst expectations, which had retail sales expanding 14.5%. While the monthly expansion was broad-based, the main drivers behind the resilient growth were sales of consumer durable goods, which increased 27.4% year-on-year, while sales of jewellery, watches and valuable gifts rose 24.7% yoy. On the other hand, fuel sales dropped 3.2% yoy. Seasonally-adjusted figures corroborate the strong growth suggested by the annual data. Retail sales increased 8.0% in the three-month period ending in December compared to the period ending in September. In the full year 2010 retail sales rose 15.5%, contrasting the 0.8% drop in 2009. Looking ahead, a government spokesman stated that local consumer sentiment is strengthening on the back of improvements in the job market and income, together with robust inbound tourism. These positive factors should continue to buttress consumption.