Mainland's holiday sales 'still golden'
Retail sales on the mainland remained robust during the week-long National Day holiday, despite rising concerns over a possible hard landing by the economy.
'The 'golden week' is still golden,' Merrill Lynch (Hong Kong) economists Lu Ting and Zhi Xiaojia wrote in a research note yesterday.
'Markets are nervous about the contracting home sales,' the economists said. 'But we should note that China's consumption could also get a boost, if people spend less on investing in homes.'
They expect consumption growth to remain stable thanks to rapid wage growth, increasing household wealth and people's confidence in the domestic economy.
Mainland consumers spent $696 billion yuan (HK$848 billion) in shops and restaurants from October 1-7, up 17.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce on Friday. The growth is slightly above the average pace in the first eight months, which is 16.9 per cent.
Strong home appliance sales continued to be a major driver for retail sales. Official figures show sales at Eurasia in Changchun, Gome in Xi'an and Suning in Beijing jumped 56 per cent, 36 per cent and 32 per cent respectively during the week.
Jewellery sales also saw significant year-on-year growth bolstered by weddings and the recent slump in gold prices.
Gold and silver jewellery sales rose 103 per cent, 70 per cent and 67 per cent respectively at major department store chains in Gansu, Xinjiang and Jiangsu provinces.
'Our stores were crowded every day [during the holiday],' said a marketing manager with Chow Tai Seng, the largest domestic jeweller on the mainland. Diamond rings and necklaces were particularly popular this year, he added.
The National Day holiday is also a peak season for travelling.
More middle- and upper-middle-class households choose to spend their holiday overseas as the domestic tourist sites are densely packed during the time.
Mainland bankcard association China UnionPay said overseas payments by mainland card holders soared 48 per cent during the golden week holiday, outpacing the domestic payment growth of 32 per cent.
Rise over the last National Day in the number of mainlanders who visited Hong Kong, according to the Tourism Board, for a total of 770,000