Hong Kong’s retail sales continued to drop in November

Hong Kong’s retail sales continued to drop in November of 2019 as social unrest dampened consumption sentiment.

The value of total retail sales in November was provisionally estimated at 30 billion Hong Kong dollars (3.86 billion U.S. dollars), down 23.6 percent from a year ago, according to a statement of the Census and Statistics Department of the government of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Friday.

The decline slightly narrowed from a 24.4-percent drop seen in October and marked a losing streak since February.

A government spokesman said that retail sales continued to fall sharply in November as the local social incidents turned extremely violent, causing very severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment.

Sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts were the hardest-hit, slumping 43.5 percent year on year, followed by a 33.4-percent slip in medicines and cosmetics and a 32.9-percent drop in commodities in department stores.

For the first 11 months of 2019 combined, total retail sales decreased by 10.3 percent compared with the same period in 2018.

The near-term outlook for the retail trade continues to hinge on how the local social incidents will evolve, the spokesman said, stressing that ending violence and restoring social order are essential to the recovery of the retail trade and indeed that of the whole economy.