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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

Stablecoin issuer regulation mooted

The Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau and the Monetary Authority today jointly issued a public consultation paper to gather views on the legislative proposal to regulate stablecoin issuers.


In view of the important roles played by stablecoins in the Web3 and virtual asset (VA) ecosystem, and the rising interconnectedness between the traditional financial system and the VA markets, the Government considers that a regulatory regime should be introduced for fiat-referenced stablecoin (FRS) issuers.


Bringing FRS issuers into the regulatory remit under a risk-based and agile approach will facilitate proper management of the potential monetary and financial stability risks.


The proposed legislation contains five salient features:


(1) introducing a licensing regime requiring all FRS issuers that meet certain conditions to be licensed by the Monetary Authority;


(2) requiring that FRS can only be offered by specified licensed entities, and that only FRS licensed by the Monetary Authority can be offered to retail investors;


(3) prohibiting the advertising of FRS issuance by unlicensed entities, or prohibiting non-specified licensed entities’ offerring of FRS;


(4) providing the necessary power for the authorities to adjust the parameters of in-scope stablecoins and activities having regard to rapid VA market development; and


(5) providing a transitional arrangement to facilitate the implementation of the regulatory regime.


Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said: “The legislative proposal to regulate FRS is another important measure facilitating Web3 ecosystem development in Hong Kong.


“With the relevant licensing, supervisory and enforcement parameters in place, the actual and potential risks associated with stablecoin development in Hong Kong could be properly managed in line with international standards.”


The Monetary Authority will also introduce a sandbox arrangement for communicating supervisory expectations and guidance on compliance to entities having a genuine interest in and a reasonable plan on issuing FRS in Hong Kong as well as obtaining their feedback on the proposed regulatory requirements. The details will be announced in due course.

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