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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

FS expects strong GDP growth

Financial Secretary Paul Chan welcomed the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2021, adding that he expected Hong Kong to register a relatively strong, positive GDP growth in the first quarter.   Meeting the media after the bill was passed by the Legislative Council today, Mr Chan noted that the advance estimates on GDP for the first quarter will be published next week.   He expected a rebound in the GDP figure due to the improved COVID-19 pandemic situation and strong recovery in the external economic environment.   “We expect there would be pretty strong GDP growth because of the fact that the comparison base last year is very low. We registered a contraction of 9% in last year’s first quarter.   “Also, since the middle of last year, although on a year-over-year basis the GDP continued to contract, on the basis of quarter-to-quarter GDP comparison we have seen gradual improvement since the third quarter.   “Given that the pandemic situation now in Hong Kong is pretty much under control - although we still need to be very vigilant - and considering the fact that the external economic environment is also recovering very strongly, no matter if it is in the Mainland, the US or other Asian countries, we are confident that with the impressive improvement on the trade side and the gradual recovery on domestic consumption, the first quarter of this year will see a relatively strong, positive GDP growth.”
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