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More HZMB private car quotas set

The governments of Hong Kong and Macau have agreed to increase the regular quotas for Hong Kong cross-boundary non-commercial private cars using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to Macau, the Transport Department announced today.   The decision was made to enhance traffic flow between Hong Kong and Macau, better utilising the bridge, the department said.   It will increase the Hong Kong quota by 1,000, following the earlier quota allocation of 1,800 for Hong Kong.   The additional quota will be distributed in two phases from the second quarter.   Half of the additional 1,000 quota allocations is for company applicants and the other half is for individual applicants. The quotas are valid for no more than three years. The eligibility criteria of quota applications remains the same.   Private cars allocated with Hong Kong quotas will be permitted to access the city of Macau multiple times using the bridge.   The Hong Kong quota allotments will be re-allocated upon expiry thro

March retail sales up 20.1%

The value of total retail sales in March, provisionally estimated at $27.6 billion, rose 20.1% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in March, online sales accounted for 7.7%. Provisionally estimated at $2.1 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 43.3% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 19.8% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified increased 35.2%.   This was followed by sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+44.8% in value); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+81%); wearing apparel (+77.4%); commodities in department stores (+2.2%); medicines and cosmetics (+18%); motor vehicles and parts (+23.1%); fuels (+18.8%); furniture and fixtures (+12.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+64.1%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+19.2%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+27.7%); and optical shops (+29.1%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 16.1% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-1.8% in value).   The Government said retail sales registered a notable year-on-year increase in March, mainly due to an exceptionally low base of comparison last year. For the first quarter as a whole, retail sales volume rose 7.2% over a year earlier, but was still far below that in the first quarter of 2019 by 32.5%.   Looking ahead, the Government pointed out that while local consumption sentiment saw some improvement following the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures since mid-February, the near-term outlook for the retail trade is still challenging as inbound tourism remains in the doldrums.   To attain a stronger revival of the retail trade and a broader-based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to work together to keep the epidemic under control and to actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, it added.
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