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[HONG KONG] A government spokesman indicated that the performance of retail sales was still constrained by a lack of growth in tourist spending despite a modest recovery in visitor arrivals in recent months.
Taking the first two months of 2017 together to neutralise the distortions by the timing of the Lunar New Year, the volume of retail sales declined by 3.6 per cent year-on-year, similar to that in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Looking ahead, the performance of retail sales will depend on the recovery pace of inbound tourism as well as whether consumer sentiment will be affected by the various external uncertainties.
At present, local consumer sentiment remains well underpinned by the prevailing favourable job and income conditions. The government will continue to monitor the situation closely.