HK retail sales rise for 10th month in Nov on improving economy

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FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks walk inside IFC in Hong Kong

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s retail sales climbed for a 10th month in November as consumption sentiment remained positive amid an economic recovery and from the government’s digital retail voucher scheme to boost spending.

Retail sales in November rose 7.1% from a year earlier to HK$30.7 billion ($3.94 billion), government data showed on Monday. That compares with a revised an 12.1% increase in October.

“Provided that the local epidemic situation remains under control, the improving economic and labour market conditions should continue to provide support to the retail sector,” a government spokesman said.

In volume terms, retail sales in November grew 4.2% from a year earlier, compared with a 9.4% surge the previous month.

For the first eleven months of 2021, total retail sales increased 8.3% in value terms and rose 6.8% in volume.

Online retail sales in November in value terms jumped 27.6% from a year earlier year compared with a revised figure of 33.9% growth in October.

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts, which before the pandemic relied heavily on tourists from the mainland, climbed 14.4% in November versus a 23.1% surge in October, the data showed.

Clothing, footwear and related products rose 16.6% in November against a 10.9% jump in October.

Tourist arrivals in November soared 59.2% from a year earlier to 9,492. That compares with a 19.6% increase in October. However, total visitor arrivals from January to November plunged 97.7% year-on-year to 81,950.

The city’s economy grew 5.4% in the third quarter from a year earlier, recovering from the pandemic-induced slump, but longer-term prospects depend on the impact of the government’s zero-COVID policy.

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The government in November revised its full-year economy growth forecast to 6.4%, close to the upper bound of the previous forecast range of 5.5%-6.5%.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slipped to 4.1% in the September-November quarter from 4.3% in the August-October period as the labour market improved along with an ongoing economic recovery.

($1 = 7.7983 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)