Hong Kong: Lunar New Year drags on retail sales growth in February
March 31, 2011
In February, retail sales rose 5.1% over the same month last year, which represented the slowest pace of expansion since January 2010. The moderation can be attributed to the Lunar New Year, which typically distorts economic activity in the in the first two months of the year. The figure was well below both the 23.6% increase recorded in January and market analyst expectations, which had retail sales expanding 13.8%. In seasonally-adjusted terms, retail sales increased 2.7% in the three-month period ending in February, compared to the previous period ending in November, which was below the 3.5% increase in January. A government spokesman stated that local consumer sentiment is strengthening on the back of improvements in the job market and income, together with robust inbound tourism. Going forward, these factors should continue to buttress consumption. The government expects full-year economic growth to range from 4.0% to 5.0%.