Hong Kong: Retail sales hit 19-month high in February amid Lunar New Year holidays
April 2, 2013
In February, retail sales rose 21.9% over the same month last year, which marks the strongest reading seen since July 2011. The print overshot the 10.4% rise recorded in the previous month and exceeded market expectations of a 17.1% increase. The February increase was driven by strong growth in sales of consumer durable products, department stores as well as luxury goods.
In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales jumped 6.4% in the three-month period ending in February compared to the previous period ending in November. The reading marked an acceleration compared to the 6.2% increase recorded in January.
A government spokesman stated that retail sales soared in February and that even taking in into account the first two months of the year - in order to smooth out distortions related to the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday - retail sales grew much faster than in the final quarter of 2012. In addition, the spokesman stressed that a stable job market and further growth in inbound tourism should support retail sales in the near term, but noted that developments in the external sector pose considerable uncertainties.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect retail sales to expand 12.8% in 2013, which is unchanged over last month's projections. Next year, the panel sees retail sales accelerating to a 14.0% increase.