Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York
Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Update for Travellers and Others

Get travel advice and stay on top of the latest developments in Hong Kong affecting the airport, public transport, public safety and other issues. Details here.

Updates on Latest Situation in Hong Kong
   
Hong Kong - Asia's wine hub

Hong Kong's status as Asia's premier wine trading and distribution hub is affirmed by the city's zero wine duties, world-class logistics network and long-standing experience with wine trading, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair 2019 (Nov 7). Mr Chan added that Hong Kong's proximity and singular connections to vast consumer market of Mainland China were also attributes of the city's hub status. In its 12th edition, this year's fair has attracted over 1,000 exhibitors from more than 20 countries and regions, with Latvia, Lithuania, Vietnam and Ukraine participating for the first time. Details here.

Hong Kong - Asia's wine hub
   
Nurturing fintech development

Tasked to drive fintech development in Hong Kong, Cyberport technology park has nurtured and grown a fintech cluster with some 360 fintech startups and companies, making it the largest fintech community in Hong Kong and also one of the largest in Asia, said Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang (Nov 7). Cyberport has also expanded into new specialized areas such as InsurTech and RegTech, opening up new opportunities for the fintech industry. To develop talent, Cyberport has partnered with the University of Hong Kong and industry players in launching Asia's first Fintech Massive Open Online Course in 2018, or MOOC in Fintech. Separately, the Cyberport University Partnership Program provides fintech-focused entrepreneurship training opportunities for students, who also have the chance to attend a weeklong boot camp at a renowned university in the United States, and visit top tech firms and start-up accelerators. Details here.

Nurturing fintech development
   
Hong Kong an attractive fintech base

With Hong Kong's fintech sector fast emerging as a regional hub, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the city offers great opportunities for fintech and investment in fintech. Speaking at the opening of Hong Kong Fintech Week 2019 (Nov 6), Mr Chan said Hong Kong is at the heart of fintech innovation in Asia. World-renowned innovation laboratories and accelerator programs, such as Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab and Deloitte Asia Pacific Blockchain Lab, have established their presence in Hong Kong, with the number of Fintech companies exceeding 600. About 40 per cent of them were started overseas, choosing turning to Hong Kong as their base in the Asian region. Many of them see Hong Kong as their business bridge to the region and, in particular, to the Mainland. Details here.

Hong Kong an attractive fintech base
   
Fostering the fintech ecosystem

Noting the remarkable momentum of fintech development in Hong Kong, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority Eddie Yue highlighted (Nov 6) some of the initiatives introduced to further bolster the fintech ecosystem in the city. These included the establishment of the Bank of International Settlements Innovation Hub Hong Kong Centre, blockchain collaboration with the subsidiary of Institute of Digital Currency of PBoC, joint research with Bank of Thailand on the application of Central Bank Digital Currency to cross-border payment, a study on the application of AI technology in the banking industry and the launch of a collaboration platform to support fintech development. Details here.

Fostering the fintech ecosystem
   
Sixteen measures to benefit Hong Kong

The Central Government will introduce 16 measures to facilitate Hong Kong people working and living in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area cities. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Nov 6) seven of these measures will benefit Hong Kong residents, including making it easier for them to purchase property in the Greater Bay Area cities by exempting the requirements of paying individual income tax and social security. There will be a pilot program for Hong Kong people to open Mainland personal bank accounts in the Greater Bay Area. The establishment of a cross-boundary wealth management scheme will also be explored. On supporting professional services, there will be six measures covering legal, construction and finance businesses. The remaining three measures aim to support the development of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation & Technology Co-operation Zone, facilitate customs clearance of imported animal-derived biomaterials, and relax the limitation on exporting Mainland human genetic resources to Hong Kong and Macau. Details here.

Sixteen measures to benefit Hong Kong
   
SCED attends Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting in Shanghai

Amid the increasing doubts and concerns about the multilateral trading system (MTS) brought about by trade disputes, unilateral measures and the global economic slowdown, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau urged WTO members to demonstrate joint efforts and firmly uphold the credibility of the MTS when he attended the Informal World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Meeting in Shanghai (Nov 5). Noting that the Appellate Body (AB) of the WTO will become inoperable in a month's time, leaving the WTO dispute settlement system in limbo, Mr Yau urged members to resolve the AB impasse resolutely with pragmatism and flexibility while engaging in discussions to address concerns about existing rules and practices. Details here.

SCED attends Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting in Shanghai
   
AI development in Hong Kong

With its commitment to developing innovation and technology (I&T), the Hong Kong Government is also determined to take the lead in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies through an array of initiatives and measures, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Hongqiao International Economic Forum in Shanghai (Nov 5). These include enhancing R&D capabilities, encouraging collaborative researches between institutions in Hong Kong and the global research community, setting up of a Smart Government Innovation Lab, introducing chatbot functions to the government portals and enquiry hotline, and attracting talent to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also actively participating in the establishment of an international I&T hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, along with the launch of a new funding program to support and encourage R&D collaboration between Hong Kong and the Mainland on projects related to AI. Details here.

AI development in Hong Kong
   
Firm and unequivocal commitment to I&T

The Hong Kong Government is firmly and unequivocally committed to the development of innovation and development (I&T) and enhancing technology infrastructure in the city, said Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang (Nov 5). In opening remarks at the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2019, Mr Yang said the government has allocated more than US$13 billion to support I&T development and earmarked US$705 million for development of Cyberport 5. Plans for Phase II expansion of the Hong Kong Science Park were also recently announced to support the city's fast-growing start-up community, which has grown by more than 40% since 2017. Details here.

Firm and unequivocal commitment to I&T
   
Legal pacts signed

Hong Kong’s Department of Justice (DoJ) signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Thailand and the United Nations (UN), respectively (Nov 4) at the 3rd UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Judicial Summit. The MOUs signified an encouraging step in legal co-operation with international organizations and foreign jurisdictions. They were the third and the fourth instruments on enhancing exchanges signed by the DoJ this year, following the ones with Japan in January and Korea in September. The Hong Kong-UN MOU was for collaboration in the field of international trade law, and to promote the use of arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution to resolve disputes in international trade, commerce and investments while the MOU between Hong Kong and Thailand provided a general administrative framework for co-operation and facilitates development of the related services in both places. Details here.

Legal pacts signed
   
Residents born in 1957, 1958 or 1959 to apply for new smart ID cards

Hong Kong residents born in 1957, 1958 or 1959 should apply for a new smart identity card in person at a Smart Identity Card Replacement Centre from Nov 16 to Feb 17, the Immigration Department announced (Nov 4). Eligible applicants may make appointment bookings via the Internet (www.gov.hk/newicbooking), the ImmD mobile application or the 24-hour telephone booking hotline (852) 2121 1234. Residents who are absent from Hong Kong during their call-up period can apply within 30 days of their return to the city. Details here.

Residents born in 1957, 1958 or 1959 to apply for new smart ID cards
   
First duty visit to Michigan

In her first duty visit to Detroit (Oct 29-31), Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu met with officials from economic development departments and agencies at both state and city levels, along with executives of chamber of commerce and corporations and briefed them on the latest economic development of Hong Kong, with particular focus on new opportunities in the Greater Bay Area for different sectors. She also explored potential collaborations to connect the business community of both places. While in Motor City, she also learnt more about Detroit’s start-up scene and invited the city’s start-ups to use Hong Kong as a base to further expand its market in China and Asia. Details here.

First duty visit to Michigan
   
Retail sales fell in September

The value of total retail sales in September 2019 fell by 18.3% year-on-year, compared with a decline of a revised 22.9% in August, as the local social incidents continued to take a heavy toll on inbound tourism and consumption-related activities. Details here.

Retail sales fell in September
   
Hong Kong enters technical recession

Hong Kong's economy fell by 2.9% in real terms in the third quarter of 2019 from a year earlier, compared with a 0.4% increase in the second quarter of 2019. The decline was attributable to the weak performance in both domestic and external demand. On a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter comparison, the drop in real GDP widened to 3.2% in the third quarter from 0.5% in the preceding quarter, indicating that the Hong Kong economy has entered a technical recession. Total exports of goods registered an enlarged decline in the third quarter, reflecting the further slackening of manufacturing and trading activities worldwide. With the local social incidents taking a heavy toll on inbound tourism, exports of services recorded the biggest year-on-year drop since the second quarter of 2003. Domestic demand worsened significantly due to dampened consumer sentiment, amid severe disruptions to the retail, catering and other consumption-related sectors. Looking ahead, with slackening global economic growth and no abatement of the adverse of impacts of the local social incidents, the economy is very likely to record a negative growth for 2019 as a whole. Details here.

Hong Kong enters technical recession
   
More assistance for SMEs

The Government has introduced a wide range of initiatives and measures, worth about US$2.6 billion, to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to cop with the operating pressures in the current economic environment, with the aim to support enterprises, safeguard jobs, stabilize the economy and strengthen livelihood, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Joint Business Community Luncheon (Oct 31). The Government will continue to play the role of "facilitator" and "promoter" to ensure sustained economic growth and enhance the competitiveness of the city by attracting foreign investment and expanding overseas and Mainland markets. Details here.

More assistance for SMEs
   
Chief Justice to retire in 2021

The Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Geoffrey Ma Tao‑li will retire from office when he reaches the statutory retirement age of 65 on January 11, 2021. Mr Ma became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s second Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal on September 1, 2010. By January 11, 2021, he will have completed more than 10 years of service as Chief Justice and nearly 20 years as a judge. The Chief Justice said that he believes retiring at 65 is in the best interests of the Judiciary, adding that proper succession planning is of vital importance. Mr Ma said he is confident that his successor will carry on the mission of upholding the rule of law and maintaining the independence of Hong Kong's judiciary. He reiterated that the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary are cornerstones of the community and described his tenure as the honor of a lifetime. Details here.

Chief Justice to retire in 2021
   
Financial system remains stable

Hong Kong's financial system remains stable, with its currency freely convertible and the banking system, flow of funds and stock market all functioning normally, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at an Asia House conference (Oct 30), highlighting that Hong Kong's international connectivity and high degree of autonomy in conducting external affairs remain unchanged. She also reiterated Hong Kong's unwavering commitment to free and open trade, adding that the city will continue to play a pivotal role in global trade. Hong Kong is also playing a pivotal role in two initiatives: the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative. Details here.

Financial system remains stable
   
Hong Kong stays competitive

Hong Kong's core competencies as an international financial center remain well in place. Speaking to lawmakers (Oct 30), Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury James Lau said different facets of Hong Kong's financial system have been functioning smoothly and orderly, despite facing unprecedented challenges in the past four months. The city's banking system remains sound and robust, with ample liquidity, while the interbank market continues to operate orderly. The Government and financial regulators will stay vigilant, conduct stress tests regularly, communicate closely and monitor the latest situation of the financial market, to ensure financial stability. Details here.

Hong Kong stays competitive
   
Hong Kong has prerequisites for fintech

Hong Kong, with its core strengths strengths as an international financial centre with an unrivalled geographical location, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, the free flow of information and a wide pool of professional talents, has the prerequisites to be successful in financial innovation, said Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasure James Lau (Oct 26). These include its sophisticated telecommunications and technology infrastructure, small and open economy, and an educated and tech-savvy workforce. Mr Lau added that the government has committed over US$12.8 billion towards innovation and technology initiatives, such as promoting R&D, nurturing local talent, attracting international expertise and supporting technology enterprises. Details here.

Hong Kong has prerequisites for fintech
   
New York dragon boat teams support local charities

Paddlers and teams from the 29th Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (HKDBF-NY) donated US$15,000 for six local New York non-profit groups that provide a host of services for youth, the elderly, the underprivileged and small businesses. At the Charity Awards Ceremony (Oct 23), Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu thanked the festival organiser and racing teams for their hard work and dedication in caring for the community. To date, the HKDBF-NY have raised over US$350,000 for New York charities over its 29-year history. The 30th anniversary of this multi-cultural festival will be held on August 8-9, 2020. Details here.

New York dragon boat teams support local charities
   
Additional measures to support enterprises and safeguard jobs

Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced a new round of measures worth about US$256 million to support enterprises and safeguard jobs, particularly those in sectors affected by the ongoing social unrest. The new measures include subsidising fuel cost and rental concessions. This follows a US$2.4 billion package, announced in August, to support SMEs and the underprivileged. The Commerce & Economic Development Bureau is in the final stage of agreeing on measures to help the travel sector cope with the current downturn in business. Details here.

Additional measures to support enterprises and safeguard jobs
   
Overall consumer prices rose 3.2% in September

Overall consumer prices rose by 3.2% in September 2019 over the same month a year earlier, smaller than the corresponding increase (3.5%) in August 2019. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of increase in the Composite CPI in September 2019 was also 3.2%, smaller than that in August 2019 (3.4%). The month saw year-on-year price increases for food, housing, miscellaneous goods, miscellaneous services, meals bought away from home and transport. Details here.

Overall consumer prices rose 3.2% in September
   
Stay vigilant against email scams

The Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR) Government reminds people to remain vigilant against possible email scams offering employment in Hong Kong under an employment program and requesting recipients to provide personal data and pay a fee. The HKSAR Government (Oct 21) clarified that it had never launched such a program. The Immigration Department and Labour Department had neither issued confirmation letters concerned nor prepared any application forms. People who have received similar suspicious emails are urged not to provide any personal data or pay any fee. Anyone receiving similar suspicious messages can contact the following government departments for enquiries: Immigration Department (Tel: +852-2824-6111; email: enquiry@immd.gov.hk); Labour Department (Tel: +852-2150-6363; email: sld-hq@labour.gov.hk). Details here.

Stay vigilant against email scams
   
Financial Secretary updates US on latest developments

Financial Secretary Paul Chan updated various US sectors on Hong Kong's latest developments during his visit to Washington, DC (Oct 17). At a lunch meeting with representatives of US think tanks, including the Cato Institute and the Brookings Institution, the Financial Secretary reiterated that the "one country, two systems" principle has been fully and successfully implemented in Hong Kong. Mr Chan met US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley and highlighted the mutual benefits of the strong Hong Kong-US trade and economic ties, adding that he hoped both sides could forge closer collaborations. Following an in-depth discussion on global financial developments with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director Zhang Tao, Mr Chan exchanged views with World Bank Group President David Malpass. At a Heritage Foundation dinner, the finance chief thanked its founder Edwin Feulner for ranking Hong Kong as the world's freest economy for 25 consecutive years.This has helped affirm Hong Kong's economic resilience, high-quality legal framework, zero tolerance for corruption, high degree of government transparency, efficient regulatory framework and openness to global commerce, he said. Details here.

Financial Secretary updates US on latest developments
   
Unemployment rate remains at 2.9%

Hong Kong's unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in July - September 2019, same as that in the previous three-month period. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods. Weak local consumption and plunging visitor arrivals caused by local social incidents continued to weigh on the labor market. The unemployment rate of the food and beverage service activities sector rose sharply to a six-year high of 6%. Details here.

Unemployment rate remains at 2.9%
   
Opportunities as a low-carbon economic hub

At a Hong Kong Association of New York breakfast meeting (Oct 17), Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu outlined Hong Kong’s efforts in promoting sustainable development such as the transition to clean and renewable energy, green commuting, and sustainable waste management. She also highlighted the opportunities under the Greater Bay Area development as a low-carbon economic hub, including the development of green finance. Also joining the discussion were Sheila Slocum Hollis from Duane Morris LLP and Philippe Lacamp from Cathay Pacific, who shared with the participants the challenges and opportunities with implementing sustainability in the energy and aviation industries. Details here.

Opportunities as a low-carbon economic hub
   
Financial Secretary promotes Hong Kong in New York City

The Financial Secretary Paul Chan promoted Hong Kong's financial services to banking and business sectors in New York (Oct 16). In his meeting with the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York John Williams, they discussed various subjects, including the US and global economic outlook and interest rate benchmark reform. Mr Chan also met with key players of the US business and banking sectors to update them on Hong Kong's latest situation and promote Hong Kong's unchanging role as an international financial center, and as a connector to opportunities related to the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. He stressed the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region remains committed to upholding the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law. Hong Kong's social incidents over recent months have not affected the city's core competitiveness, and the wide range of programs and initiatives announced in the Policy Address (Oct 16) that focus on healing and helping will support Hong Kong as it continues to move forward. Details here.

Financial Secretary promotes Hong Kong in New York City
   
Growth in numbers of overseas and mainland companies and start-ups

The number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas and in Mainland China and the number of start-ups in Hong Kong have been on the rise, according to the results of two surveys (Oct 16). Results of the 2019 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located Outside Hong Kong showed that the number of overseas and Mainland companies in Hong Kong increased by 9.9 per cent from 8,225 in 2017 to 9,040 in 2019. The 9,040 companies comprised 1,541 operating as regional headquarters, 2,490 as regional offices and 5,009 as local offices. In terms of source country/territory, Mainland China ranked first with 1,799 companies, followed by Japan (1,413), the United States (1,344), the United Kingdom (713) and Singapore (446). At the same time, Hong Kong's start-up scene has continued to be very vibrant. According to the 2019 Startup Survey conducted by InvestHK, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong saw even more impressive growth of 42.8 per cent to 3,184 from 2017. They spanned different business sectors, such as financial technology, e-commerce, supply chain management and logistics technology, as well as information, computer and technology. Details here.

Growth in numbers of overseas and mainland companies and start-ups
   
Policy objectives to restore calm and boost economy

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam set out core principles and strategies for overcoming the social and economic challenges facing Hong Kong in her Policy Address (Oct 16), themed "Treasure Hong Kong: Our Home". The principles for handling the current crisis and discharging governance responsibilities included adhering to the "One Country, Two Systems" principle; safeguarding the rights and freedoms protected by the Basic Law; upholding the rule of law, which is a core value of paramount importance to Hong Kong; and protecting the city's institutional strengths. She also unveiled over 220 new initiatives that aimed at helping local businesses overcome hurdles during the economic downturn and that targeted the unresolved disputes and ongoing violence with a view to restoring social calm and embarking on the road to reconciliation. These included additional funding to safeguard jobs and support enterprises to withstand the economic downturn. Details here.

Policy objectives to restore calm and boost economy
   
Government expresses regret over passage of Hong Kong bills

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government expressed (Oct 16) regret over the passage of the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act", as well as another act and resolution on Hong Kong by the US House of Representative. Since the return to the Motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising 'Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong' and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law. The HKSAR Government will continue to implement the 'one country, two systems' principle resolutely in accordance with the Basic Law. Details here.

Government expresses regret over passage of Hong Kong bills
   
Chicago celebrates veteran actor Kenneth Tsang Kong

Veteran Hong Kong actor Kenneth Tsang Kong was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago (Oct 10), prior to the screening of his movie “The Attorney”. The screening was part of the film series’ closing festivities, which also featured the North American premiere of the Hong Kong film “Deception of the Novelist” (Oct 9), which opened to a full house. Film director Christopher Sun and producer/lead actor Justin Cheung were in attendance to share many behind-the-scenes stories with the audience. Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu was in Chicago to congratulate Mr Tsang on his award and to welcome Hong Kong film talents to the Windy City. Details here.

Chicago celebrates veteran actor Kenneth Tsang Kong
   
Financial markets operating normally

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) reiterated (Oct 10) that the invocation of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance does not affect the normal operation of Hong Kong's banking sector or financial markets. Banking services are largely normal, except for service disruptions caused by vandalized branches and ATMs where immediate and full restoration of services was not possible. The city's banking system is very robust and sound, with average capital adequacy ratio of 20%. The Hong Kong Dollar exchange rate has remained stable throughout the recent social disruptions. The HKMA and the HKSAR Government have an unwavering commitment and ample resources to defend the Linked Exchange Rate System when needed. Details here.

Financial markets operating normally
   
Hong Kong among world's top competitive economies

Bounding up four notches, Hong Kong is now the world's third most competitive economy, among 141 surveyed, according to the latest World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. Hong Kong came in first on four pillars - the most of any economy - of assessment: macroeconomic stability, health, financial system and product market. Hong Kong placed third in infrastructure and ICT adoption. Details here.

Hong Kong among world's top competitive economies
   
Cautious approach to emergency law

The Hong Kong Government will make a careful assessment before invoking the Emergency Regulations Ordinance again, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Oct 8). She said the only prerequisite or condition to invoke the ordinance is to achieve the objective of ending violence and restoring law and order in Hong Kong. Mrs Lam said the Government is very committed to use its own instruments - legal instruments, political instruments such as continuing dialogue, policy instruments like addressing some of the deep-seated problems in livelihood and economic issues - to try to restore calm and order in Hong Kong. Details here.

Cautious approach to emergency law
   
August retail sales fall 23%

The value of total retail sales in August, provisionally estimated at US$3.7 billion, fell 23% year-on-year. The plunge reflected the weak consumer sentiment amid subdued economic conditions, and the severe disruptions to inbound tourism and consumption-related activities caused by the local social incidents.The Government said retail sales had registered the steepest year-on-year decline for a single month on record, even worse than that recorded in September 1998 during the Asian Financial Crisis. The Government will closely monitor the situation and the implications for the labor market and the economy. Details here.

August retail sales fall 23%
   

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