[B]Retail Sales Figures Decline In March [/B]
For the month of March, retail sales in Hong Kong rose 5 percent to HK$8.9 billion. Subsequently, volume advanced on the month, rising 3.5 percent according to the government report released in the overnight session. Although positive for the economy, the report bears a rather pessimistic tone as figures were vastly lower when compared to Februarys results. During the month, sales supported a 28.6 percent year on year growth as volume peaked at 25.2 percent. Attributed to the drop off were monthly supermarket sales and motor vehicles, according to government sources which cite increased volatility of the figure in the two months subsequent to Chinese New Year. Nonetheless, it should not take away from the fact that the total figure for the quarter advanced by a healthy 9.4 percent in value terms, higher by 6.6 percent in volume when compared to previous years figures. Mixed, the report kept the Hong Kong dollar relatively range bound for the London and New York sessions.
[B]Hong Kong[/B][B] Stocks Back En Vogue, Rises To 2-Week High[/B]
Stocks in Hong Kong advanced to the highest in two weeks, as developers paced gains on the overall benchmark index. Henderson Land Development Co. helped to boost market sentiment shortly after the companys share price target was raised by Merrill Lynch & Co. Shares of the regions third biggest developer by market value jumped HK$3.30 or a whopping 7 percent to close at HK$50.60. Incidentally, Cheung Kong Holdings also helped shares, rising HK$3.30 to close at HK$106.40. Ultimately, bidders won out for the day as the Hang Seng closed higher, adding 293.09 points at 20,681.58.