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Slight rebound in US retail sales in January

According to America’s National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, January retail sales in the US rebounded slightly over the previous month. The NRF said retail industry sales for January (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.5%. Post-holiday bargains may have been too good to resist but the NRF doesn’t see this momentum keeping up for the rest of the year. NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells, said: “We expect the first half of the year to present challenges while giving way to sustained growth in the fourth quarter.” As shoppers continued to save more and spend less, they continue to spend on the necessities. General merchandise stores sales increased 1.1%. Additionally, health and personal care stores sales were flat.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong port slowed down in January with a 23.2% drop in throughput, to just 1.62 million TEU. Over in the Shenzhen, the ports handled 1.53 million TEU in January, a 17.5% decrease over the same period last year. For the whole year 0f 2008, the Hong Kong port handled a total of 24.33 million TEU at a rise of 1.4%. The Shenzhen ports saw a total throughput of 21.4 million TEU for 2008, a 1.5% rise over 2007.

Hong Kong’s total goods exports fell 11.4% in December while total goods imports were down 16.2%, over December 2007. Total re-exports dropped 10.3% while domestic exports fell 39% in December 2008 over December 2007.

For 2008, total goods exports rose 5.1% over 2007, and within this, re-exports rose 6% while domestic exports dropped 16.8%, and imports grew 5.5%.