Hong Kong: Retail sales slow in June
August 1, 2018
Retail sales volumes grew a still robust 9.8% in annual terms in June, decelerating from May’s revised 11.5% expansion (previously reported: +11.6% year-on-year). Retail sales in June were supported by robust domestic demand and strong tourism.
Notable accelerations were registered in sales of luxury items—typically tied to holiday spending and inbound tourism from mainland China—as well as of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco. Despite remaining strong, sales in most of the remaining categories slowed in June. Moreover, supermarket sales contracted at a faster pace.
On a seasonally-adjusted, three-month-moving-average basis, retail sales in the April–June period decreased 0.1% from the preceding three-month period ending in March. The print contrasted the 2.6% increase in the three-month period ending in May and represented the first decline since December 2016. Meanwhile, annual average variation in retail sales volumes jumped to an over four-year high of 8.2% in June from 7.5% in May.
A government spokesperson noted that:
“Local consumer sentiment stayed favourable amid a tight labour market while visitor arrivals continued to record solid growth. Looking ahead, favourable job and income conditions and buoyant inbound tourism should continue to provide support to the retail sector in the near term.”
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist