People walk past luxurious stores in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong, China, on Sunday, May 10, 2020. (PAUL YEUNG / BLOOMBERG)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong's retail sales nudged up in September helped by improved tourism from eased pandemic restrictions, official data showed on Tuesday.

Retail sales in September rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier in value terms to stand at HK$28.1 billion ($3.6 billion). That compared with HK$28.5 billion in August, when retail sales slid 0.2 percent from a year earlier.

Tourist arrivals in September soared 568.5 percent from a year earlier to 66,037. That compared with a 451.4 percent jump in August

A Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government spokesman said the stable pandemic situation, improved labor market conditions and the government's Consumption Voucher Scheme will continue to support demand.

"However, tightened financial conditions will increasingly offset the positive effects," the spokesman said.

Rising interest rates and a pessimistic economic outlook have put pressure on asset prices, dragging down private home prices in the city.

Nevertheless, the special administrative region has experienced a surge in travel after it ended mandatory hotel quarantine for international arrivals.

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Tourist arrivals in September soared 568.5 percent from a year earlier to 66,037. That compared with a 451.4 percent jump in August.

For the first nine months, the value of total retail sales was provisionally estimated to have decreased by 1.3 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Census and Statistics Department. 

After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales in September decreased by 1.5 percent.

Of the total retail sales value in September, online sales accounted for 10.2 percent. Provisionally estimated at HK$2.9 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 21.6 percent compared with a year ago.

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Sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods not elsewhere classified increased by 14 percent year-on-year while that of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts rose 8.4 percent. On the other hand, sales of motor vehicles and parts increased 26.6 percent.

For the third quarter as a whole, retail sales value increased further by 1.3 percent year-on-year, the spokesman said.

With Reuters inputs