RAPAPORT... Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department published provisional retail sales for July, showing a 3.8 percent year on year increase to $4.7 billion (HKD 36.5 billion). The volume of retail sales increased by 1.3 percent. For the first seven months of 2012, Hong Kong's retail sales have increased by 11.7 percent to $33 billion (HKD 256.5 billion).
Sales of jewelry, watches and clocks in July rose 0.9 percent to $1 billion (HKD 7.89 billion), however, the volume of sales fell 3.1 percent year on year. Revenue from this category for the first seven months of 2012 has increased 10 percent year on year to $7.2 billion (HKD 55.49 billion).
The government noted that overall retail sales volume expanded only modestly in July and that the growth rate from tourists moderated from previous months. Local consumer sentiment appeared to have ''turned more cautious'' in view of the deterioration in the external economic environment, according to its statement.
Nonetheless, Hong Kong predicted that favorable job conditions locally and further expansion of inbound tourism should support retail business in the months ahead. ''However, we need to stay alert to the notable downside risks on the external front, which will continue to cast a shadow over the economic outlook and hence may increasingly weigh on consumer sentiments down the road,'' according to the statement.