Hong Kong: Retail sales decelerate in January
March 1, 2012
In January, retail sales rose 9.1% over the same month last year, the slowest expansion recorded since February 2011. The print came in well below both the 17.1% expansion seen in December as well as market analysts' expectations, which had retail sales increasing 14.0%, and was partially due to a negative base effect derived from the timing of the Lunar New Year. According to the statistical office, the subdued figure came on the back of weaker sales of jewellery and watches as well as of food. In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose 0.9% in the three-month period ending in January compared to the previous period ending in October, which was only a fraction of the 3.7% increase recorded in December. A government spokesman noted that ?the improved income conditions and the prevailing strength of inbound tourism should continue to render support to the retail business in the near term?. The government expects full-year growth to range from 1.0% to 3.0%.