Hong Kong: Retail sales unexpectedly drop in December
February 2, 2015
In December, retail sales fell 1.3% over the same month of the previous year, which contrasted the revised 7.6% increase tallied in November (previously reported: +7.5% year-on-year). The result represented the first decline in five months and greatly undershot the 6.3% increase that markets had expected. A sharp drop in jewelry and luxury goods as well as in sales at department stores and supermarkets were behind the monthly contraction.
A government spokesman explained that December’s drop mostly reflected, “the slackening in visitor spending. The sales performance of many other items, including those related more to local consumption, was also lacklustre. The fluctuations in retail sales in recent months suggest that consumption sentiment was still rather unsteady.” The official also noted that, “looking ahead, the near-term performance of retail sales will still hinge on the labour market conditions and inbound tourism growth.”
Retail sales rose a seasonally-adjusted 5.2% in the three-month period up to December compared to the previous three-month period ending in September. The reading followed the 10.6% increase recorded in the previous month.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist