China’s slowdown dragged Hong Kong’s retail-sales growth to the weakest pace since 2009 as shoppers visiting from the mainland cut back on purchases of luxury goods such as jewelry and watches.
Sales increased 8.8 percent in May from a year earlier to HK$36 billion ($4.6 billion), the government said on its website yesterday. That was the smallest gain since September 2009, excluding seasonal distortions each January and February.
The deceleration of Asia’s biggest economy is rippling through Hong Kong, which reported record retail-sales gains as recently as last year, and Macau, where casino revenues are increasing at a reduced pace. A loosening of monetary policy may help China to regain momentum after manufacturing gauges released on July 1 and 2 pointed to a deterioration last month.
“The consumption appetite of mainland visitors has dropped compared with last year because of the economic slowdown,” said Raymond Yeung, a Hong Kong-based economist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. The data “is a warning sign for Hong Kong retailers.”