Hong Kong: Retail sales tumble to lowest level in over four years in March
May 2, 2014
In March, retail sales declined 2.3% over the same month last year, which followed the revised 2.1% drop tallied in February (previously reported: -2.3% year-on-year). The contraction, which marked the steepest fall since July 2009, contrasted market expectations of a 6.7% increase. Lower sales of consumer durable goods, fuels and jewelry and valuable gifts were behind the monthly drop.
A government spokesman stated that March's gloomy performance, “was mainly dragged by the fall-off in major big-ticket items, the latter having shown notable growth in recent quarters.” The spokesman also noted that, “the favourable job and income conditions, together with the sustained growth of visitor arrivals, should provide some support to the retail business in the near term.”
Retail sales expanded a seasonally-adjusted 1.6% in the three-month period up to March compared to the previous three-month period ending in December. The reading followed the 4.6% increase recorded in February.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect retail sales to expand 10.0% in 2014, which is down 0.5 percentage points over last month's projection. Next year, the panel sees retail sales growing 9.8%.