Naysayers who predict that the Occupy movement will adversely impact Hong Kong’s economy have it wrong for the first month of protests.
The latest retail and tourism numbers for the month of October instead saw positive figures, effectively disproving Hong Kong and Beijing officials’ grave warnings.
Retail sales by value grew 1.4% from the previous year according to the Hong Kong census and statistics department. The figure is slightly higher than the median estimate for a 1.2% increase from economists Bloomberg polled.
The good sales numbers have been attributed to Apple launching the iPhone 6, which helped boost electronic equipment sales by 23.6% and cover up for the 11.6% fall in sales of luxury items, watches, and jewelery.
Some economists blamed the Umbrella Movement protests for the flagging sales of some retail items, others feel that such an analysis is “overly pessimistic.”
Raymond Yeung, economist at ANZ, told the Financial Times:
I just don’t find sufficient evidence it affects people’s sentiment. The protests only affect a small area.
Instead, Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive is the more crucial factor in explaining Hong Kong’s lackluster retail environment, Yeung notes. Chinese politicians, military officers, and civil servants have stopped splurging on luxury goods to offer as “gifts” for favors as they fear being caught and arrested.
Meanwhile, tourism figures increased 12.6% in October from a year ago, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Despite the Chinese regime’s threat to ban package tours in Hong Kong when the protests began, there was an 18.3% increase in mainland visitors to the semi-autonomous city from last year, or over 4 million Chinese tourists.
Published with permission from Epoch Times. Read the rest of the article here.