Hong Kong: Retail sales growth slows markedly in September
Retail sales volumes expanded a feeble 1.4% in annual terms in September, decelerating sharply from August’s 7.9% increase. The slowdown reflected contracting sales of fuels; food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (excluding supermarkets); and clothing and footwear, as well as a marked slowdown in sales of luxury items, other consumer goods, and department store sales.
On a seasonally-adjusted, three-month-moving-average basis, retail sales in the July–September period decreased 3.0% from the preceding three-month period ending in June. The print followed a 2.0% decrease in the three-month period ending in August and represented the largest decline since the January-March 2016 period. Meanwhile, annual average variation in retail sales volumes fell from August’s over four-year high of 9.0% to 8.6% in September.
A government spokesperson noted that:
“Retail sales grew at a decelerated pace in September, partly due to the temporary drag on inbound tourism by typhoon Mangkhut. Local consumer spending may also have been dampened by worries about the US-Mainland trade conflicts and stock market corrections. […] Looking forward, favourable labour market conditions and buoyant inbound tourism should continue to support the retail sector in the near term. Yet, external uncertainties and weaker asset markets may increasingly affect consumer sentiment.”