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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

2023 one of second warmest years

With all 12 months warmer than usual, 2023 was among the second warmest years on record, with the annual mean temperature reaching 24.5 degrees Celsius, 1.0 degree above the 1991-2020 normal, the Hong Kong Observatory said today.

The annual mean minimum temperature of 22.6 degrees was equal to the highest since records began in 1884, while the annual mean maximum temperature of 27.2 degrees was equal to the second highest.

Notably, the mean temperature for summer reached 29.7 degrees, the highest on record.

The highest temperature recorded in the year, on July 27, was 36.1 degrees, which ranked among the third highest data points on record. There were 54 very hot days last year, equal to the highest previous totals on record.

The lowest temperature recorded in the year was 8.1 degrees, on December 23. The number of cold days in the year was 14 days, 1.2 fewer than normal.

Mainly owing to record-breaking autumn rainfall, total rainfall in 2023 was 2,774.5 mm, about 14% above the normal. Eight red rainstorm warnings and two black rainstorm warnings were issued by the Observatory in the year.

Meanwhile, five tropical cyclone warning signals were issued. The Observatory issued Hurricane Signal No. 10 during the passage of Saola in September, the Increasing Gale or Storm Signal No. 9 during the passage of Koinu in October and the Gale or Storm Signal No. 8 during the passage of Talim in July.

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