Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung said yesterday he hoped forecasts by Premier Zhu Rongji that the SAR's overall economic growth would exceed one per cent would be realised. 'Economic forecasting is not an exact science. We have different forecasts,' he said. 'I hope the good wish of the Premier that Hong Kong's economy can grow by more than one per cent will be correct.' The Government last week revised its economic forecast for economic growth from three per cent to one per cent. But Mr Zhu said in Dublin on Tuesday that this was too pessimistic. In Brussels yesterday, Mr Zhu repeated that he was not so gloomy about Hong Kong's economy. 'I think it will be more than one per cent.' However, government figures yesterday showed retail sales took a battering in July, dashing hopes that consumers would ignore the economic gloom and continue spending. Retail sales volume grew by only 1.5 per cent, ending strong consumer buying in May and June. Economists feared the figures would drag down overall private consumption figures - the only bright spot in Hong Kong's disappointing 0.5 per cent second-quarter growth figure. Responding to reports in Chinese newspapers that Beijing would seek ways to help Hong Kong in its national five-year economic plan, Mr Leung said there would be 'considerable difficulty' including Hong Kong under the policy of 'one country, two systems'.