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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

1.7% inflation in Mar

Overall consumer prices rose 1.7% in March year-on-year, larger than the 1.6% increase in February, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government’s one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of increase in March’s underlying inflation rate was also 1.7%, larger than the average increase rate of 1.5% in January and February.   Compared with March last year, price increases were recorded for basic food; transport; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; durable goods; miscellaneous services and miscellaneous goods.   On the other hand, decreases in electricity, gas and water and housing were recorded.   For alcoholic drinks and tobacco, there was no change in price.   The Government said that the elevated prices of fresh vegetables in the month gave rise to the price surge of basic food over a year earlier. Prices of energy-related items and transport also recorded visible increases.   Looking ahead, the Government said inflation in many major economies may stay high in the near term amid heightened geopolitical risks and supply and transportation bottlenecks, leading to faster increases in the prices of imported items.   Still, the overall inflation should remain largely in check as domestic rentals stay soft, it added.
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