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Hong Kong Retail Sales Growth Slows More Than Expected In July

Hong Kong's retail sales growth eased at a faster-than-expected pace in July, preliminary figures from the Census and Statistics Department showed Monday.

The retail sales volume rose 1.9 percent year-over-year in July, much slower than previous month's 4.3 percent climb, revised from the 4.4 percent gain reported earlier.

Economists had expected a 2.8 percent increase for the month. Sales have been rising since February.

Meanwhile, in value terms, retail sales declined 2.8 percent annually in July, exceeding economists' expectations for a 1.3 percent drop. In June, sales had fallen 0.4 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total retail sales decreased by 1.4 percent in the three months ended July compared with the previous three-month period and the volume of retail sales also fell by 0.9 percent.

The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts decreased by 5.0 percent in July from a year ago, while sales of commodities in supermarkets grew by 0.4 percent.

"Retail sales growth in volume terms moderated in July, partly dragged by the further slowdown in inbound tourism and partly also due to the impact of stock market correction on consumer sentiment," a government spokesman said.

"The near-term performance of retail sales will continue to hinge on inbound tourism growth and on whether there would be any negative spillover from the increased stock market volatility of late."

"The Government will monitor closely how the rapidly changing external environment may affect the retail business going forward."

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