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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

New water supply pact signed

Secretary for Development Bernadette Linn signed a new agreement on the supply of Dongjiang water to Hong Kong from 2024 to 2026 with Guangdong Province Water Resources Department Director General Wang Lixin in Guangzhou today.


The current agreement will expire on December 31. The new agreement continues to adopt the “package deal deductible sum” approach which enables Hong Kong to import Dongjiang water based on the city's need.


In years with more local yield and the amount of Dongjiang water required is below the preset annual supply ceiling, a price deduction, according to the actual amount of water supplied, will be made to the annual ceiling water price.


This approach provides greater flexibility in the control of water storage level, preventing wastage of Dongjiang water resources and saving pumping costs for water delivery.


The new agreement also continues to adopt benchmarks on water supply volume applicable under the existing agreement.


In the new agreement, the annual ceiling water price will have an annual increase of 2.39%, which is worked out with reference to the mechanism that takes into account changes in the price indices of Guangdong and Hong Kong, and the exchange rate between renminbi and Hong Kong dollars.


Under the new agreement, the Guangdong side will maintain the quality of the Dongjiang water supply to Hong Kong in compliance with Type II waters in the Environmental Quality Standards for Surface Water, which is the highest national standard for surface water applicable to human consumption.


On the same day, Ms Linn held a working meeting with Guangdong Water Resources Department to exchange views on the Dongjiang water supply and water quality monitoring work.


Ms Linn thanked the Guangdong authorities for investing in infrastructure to safeguard the water supply and water quality for Hong Kong as well as providing support on the relevant policy and implementation work.


She said: “We are very grateful for the nation's support for Hong Kong. The continuous supply of Dongjiang water since 1960s has helped Hong Kong to solve the long-term problem of water shortage.


“Dongjiang water currently makes up about 70% to 80% of fresh water consumption in Hong Kong, meeting the needs of people's livelihood and social development.”


2025 will mark the 60th anniversary of Dongjiang water supply to Hong Kong. The Development Bureau plans to launch a series of activities which will enable the public to learn about the history and current situation of Dongjiang water supply to Hong Kong as well as the nation's immense support and care rendered to Hong Kong through this mega water supply project.


Afterwards, Ms Linn and officials from Guangdong Water Resources Department visited Gaoxinsha Pumping Station in Nansha, Guangzhou, to see the Water Resources Allocation Project in the Pearl River Delta Area.

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