Hong Kong: Retail sales contract at sharpest pace since July 2020 in February
Retail sales plunged 17.6% year-on-year in February amid surging Covid-19 cases and tough new restrictions on activity (January: +1.5% yoy). The outturn marked the worst reading since July 2020. The reading came on the back of a dive in fuel sales. In addition, food and alcoholic beverages, jewelry, watches and valuables, and clothing and footwear sales fell heavily.
Meanwhile, the trend pointed down, with the annual average growth of retail sales coming in at 5.0% in February, down from January’s 9.1% reading.
March likely also saw subdued retail sales due to the ongoing pandemic, although private spending should improve somewhat from April thanks to the disbursement of government stimulus vouchers and the lifting of some restrictions on domestic activity.