BY JOSHUA FREEDMAN
“Hong Kong’s retail sales rose in January as the municipality benefited from looser Covid-19 restrictions.
Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts jumped 23% year on year to HKD 4.45 billion ($566.8 million) for the month, the highest since January 2020, the government’s Census and Statistics Department reported Thursday. Total retail sales increased 7% to HKD 36.19 billion ($4.61 billion).
The strength reflected an uptick in consumer sentiment and, possibly, the earlier timing of the Chinese New Year, a government spokesperson explained. The lunar festival occurred on January 22, whereas last year it was on February 1, meaning January may have captured more of the sales this year.
The territory has been gradually easing its coronavirus rules in recent months. The border with China reopened in January, enabling consumers to enter from the important mainland market. On Wednesday, Hong Kong lifted a public-area mask mandate that had been in place since mid-2020.
“The continued return of economic activities to normalcy and further rebound in the number of visitor arrivals will benefit the retail sector,” the spokesperson continued. “Improved labor-market conditions will also provide support.””