Hong Kong Retail Sales Rise Less-Than-Estimated 15% on Year

Hong Kong’s retail sales rose less than analysts forecast in January, limiting gains to the city from Lunar New Year holiday spending.

Sales increased 14.9 percent from a year earlier to HK$43.2 billion ($5.6 billion), the government said on its website today. That compared with a revised 23.5 percent gain in December and the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of seven economists of 24 percent.

Sales of jewelry and watches during the holiday were “quite disappointing,” the Hong Kong Retail Management Association said before today’s release. While higher prices during the festival may have discouraged some shoppers, the government said that February numbers are needed to get a picture free of seasonal distortions.

“Never-subsiding inflationary pressure may start to bite,” Raymond Yeung, a Hong Kong-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), said before the announcement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Yun in Hong Kong at Myun11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst in Hong Kong at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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