Hong Kong: Retail sales fall to fresh all-time low in October
Retail sales by volume plummeted 26.2% year-on-year in October, even more sharply than September’s revised 20.3% freefall (previously reported: -20.4% year-on-year). The knock-on effects from the civil unrest, which has hammered tourist arrivals and caused several major shopping outlets to temporarily close, continued to take its toll.
In October, tourist arrivals plunged 43.7% year-on-year, after nosediving 34.2% year-on-year in September. This was despite China’s “Golden Week” holiday that commences in the first week of October each year and brought in roughly 4.7 million tourists from mainland China in the same month last year.
The stronger deterioration in sales volume was mainly driven by a more pronounced fall in clothing and footwear; durable goods, notably motor vehicles and electrical goods; and sales of jewelry, watches and clocks.
On a seasonally-adjusted, three-month moving average basis, retail sales by volume in the August–October period tumbled 18.5% from the preceding three-month period, down from the 16.7% decline in July–September. Overall, the annual average variation in retail sales volume fell 8.5% in October after falling 5.9% in September.
Going forward, civil unrest seems set to continue to depress the retail and tourism sectors, which will likely bring about a slight fall in employment levels, further suppressing private consumption in turn.