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Hong Kong's retail sales up 22.7 pct in February

2013-04-03 07:51 Xinhua     Web Editor: qindexing comment

The value of Hong Kong's total retail sales in February 2013, provisionally estimated at 41.4 billion HK dollars (about 5.34 billion U.S. dollars), grew 22.7 percent over a year earlier, the city's Census and Statistics Department said on Tuesday.

After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 21.9 percent in February 2013 compared with a year earlier.

The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in January 2013, at 47.7 billion HK dollars, increased by 10.5 percent over January 2012, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 10.4 percent.

In interpreting these figures, it should be noted that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year owing to the timing of the Lunar New Year. The local consumer spending normally attains a seasonal high immediately before the Festival. As the Lunar New Year fell on February 10 this year but on January 23 last year, it is more appropriate to analyze the retail sales figures for January and February taken together in making year-on-year comparison.

For the first two months of 2013, total retail sales increased by 15.8 percent in value and 15.5 percent in volume over the same period a year earlier.

A government spokesman noted that retail sales picked up strongly in February 2013. Even taking the first two months of 2013 together to remove the distortions caused by the timing of the Lunar New Year, retail sales still grew visibly year-on-year. The growth pace was also much faster than that seen in the final quarter of last year.

The spokesman added that looking ahead, the broadly stable labor market conditions and vibrant inbound tourism should continue to lend support to the retail business in the near term.

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