Hong Kong February Retail Sales Post Record Fall on Coronavirus Spread

Hong Kong’s retail sales fell by a record 44% in February from a year earlier, as travel restrictions kept tourists away and residents avoided shopping centres to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported. The spending drought has hit an economy already in recession after months of often-violent anti-government protests. Retail sales in February fell 44% from a year earlier to HK$22.7 billion ($2.93 billion), compared with a revised 21.5% drop in January, government data showed on Tuesday. In volume terms, retail sales fell 46.7%, compared with a revised 23.1% drop in January. “The business environment of retail trade will remain extremely austere in the near term, as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought inbound tourism to a standstill and severely dented local consumption demand,” a government spokesman said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The government would closely monitor the repercussions on the overall economy and employment, the spokesman said. Read more