June retail sales rise but miss estimates

Finance | Avery Chen 3 Aug 2021

Hong Kong's retail sales growth slowed sharply and missed estimates in June, as the border with the mainland remains closed and local residents delayed spending as they waited for their consumption vouchers.

Retail sales in June rose 5.8 percent to HK$28.1 billion from a year ago, Census and Statistics Department data showed yesterday. That was far lower than economists' median estimate of 14.1 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Excluding the effect of price changes, total retail sales volume rose 2.8 percent from a year ago, lower than the median estimate of 10.5 percent.

For the first half of this year, retail sales grew by 8.4 percent in value and improved by 7.1 percent in volume.

With incoming visitors still scant, retail sales stayed far below pre-recession levels, a government spokesman said.

Annie Tse Yau On-yee, the chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, said she expects July's retail sales growth will continue to face pressure as Hongkongers deferred consumption before receiving the e-vouchers.

The SAR government distributed the first batch of consumption vouchers, worth HK$2,000, on August 1.

Local retailers expected the scheme will lift sales by 10 percent, Tse said. However, it will be still far lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic and the social unrest due to the lack of mainland tourists, she added.

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