March 2, 2020 / 10:07 AM / in a month

Coronavirus sends Hong Kong January retail sales plunging 21.4%

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s retail sales fell 21.4% in January from a year earlier, as the coronavirus outbreak discouraged tourists from visiting the Chinese-ruled city and kept citizens away from shopping centres.

The health scare worsened an already weak environment for retail after months of often violent anti-government protests.

For the month of January, sales dropped to HK$37.8 billion ($4.86 billion), government data showed on Monday, the 12th consecutive month of decline. December’s fall was a revised 19.4%

In volume terms, retail sales in January fell 23.0%, compared with a revised 21.1% drop in December.

($1 = 7.7776 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Marius Zaharia and Toby Chopra

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