Hong Kong’s retail sales grew at its weakest in three months in January, in value terms, due to a decline in tourist arrivals from mainland China and new year holiday distortions. The Lunar New Year fell in January last year but was in February this year. Retail sales in 2017 rose 2.2% in value terms over 2016, ending a three-year slump in the sector.
January tourist arrivals slid 2.6% from a year earlier to 5.33 million, ending four straight months of growth, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Mainland visitors, which accounted for 77% of the total, fell 5.5% on year, in their first drop since August last year. The total number of visitors increased last year, rising 3.2%, after declining in 2015 and 2016. Of those, mainland visitors were 3.9% higher than in 2016.