Hong Kong is beginning to reckon with the economic cost of ongoing protests against the government’s extradition Bill, as the disruption risks driving away local shoppers and deterring tourists from mainland China.
The Hong Kong Retail Management Association said on Tuesday (July 16) that “most members” reported a single-to-double-digit drop in average sales revenue between June and the first week of July, when multiple demonstrations converging on major office and retail districts took place.
The threat to Hong Kong’s vital retail sector will hit its economy at a time when it is already slowing.
Retail sales data for June is due for release on August 1, with the value of goods sold having contracted every month since February.
The “industry is worried that these events will damage Hong Kong’s international image as a safe city, a culinary capital, and a shopping heaven,” the association said in a statement.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s bid to ease extraditions to the mainland prompted hundreds of thousands of protesters to take to the streets in a wave of historic protests that has brought parts of the city to a halt since early last month.
Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan said at a briefing on Monday (July 15) that second quarter economic output is expected to be “slow,” though there haven’t been obvious capital outflows amid the demonstrations.