Typhoon Mangkhut blows away retail sales growth

Typhoon Mangkhut which left a trail of destruction across Hong Kong in September has dented the city’s long-running rebound in retail sales.

According to Census and Statistics Department figures, Hong Kong retail sales growth in September slumped to just 2.4 per cent year-on-year, well short of the revised 9.4 per cent of August and the 11.1 per cent year-to-date figure.

A government spokesman said the decelerated September pace was “partly due to the temporary drag on inbound tourism by typhoon Mangkhut” adding that local consumer spending may have also been dampened by worries about the US-Mainland trade conflicts and stock market corrections.

Hong Kong -typhoon

“Looking forward, favourable labour market conditions and buoyant inbound tourism should continue to support the retail sector in the near term. Yet, external uncertainties and weaker asset markets may increasingly affect consumer sentiment,” the spokesman said.

After netting out the effect of price changes year-on-year, the volume of Hong Kong retail sales in September increased by just 1.4 per cent.

Reflecting Mangkhut’s impact, sales of jewellery, watches and clocks appeared to suffer the greatest impact, sales up a mere 2.2 per cent. Apparel sales fell by 3.8 per cent and eyewear sales fell by 6.7 per cent.

In categories frequented more by local consumers, growth was stronger. Supermarket sales rose 3.6 per cent, food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco by 3.2 per cent, department store sales by 2 per cent, electrical goods and other consumer durable goods by 4.9 per cent, medicines and cosmetics by 4.9 per cent, furniture and homewares by 1.4 per cent, books, newspapers, stationery and gifts by 8.2 per cent, and both footwear and accessories and Chinese drugs and herbs by 3.4 per cent.

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