Gloomy out­look for Chi­nese New Year sales

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS - BY KONG SEE HOH

THE drop in the ring­git against the US dol­lar looks set to cast a pall on the sale of goods for the up­com­ing Chi­nese New Year (CNY), where “brisk sales” had been the tra­di­tional catch­phrase.

Sundry goods mer­chants ex­pect prices of fes­tive items to go up by 20-30%.

Some quipped that they would con­sider it “a profit if we don’t lose money sell­ing Chi­nese New Year goods”.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Nanyang Siang Pau yes­ter­day, an eco­nomic slow­down, on top of per­sis­tent in­fla­tion and the weak­ened ring­git, have seen the con­sumer mar­ket go­ing through a lean pe­riod, and sundry goods mer­chants are hop­ing to get a much-needed boost from the sales of CNY goods.

But the lat­est slide in the ring­git in the wake of Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial polls is putting paid to their plans.

This is be­cause the strength of the green back has a di­rect im­pact on the prices of im­ported goods, in­clud­ing CNY items, which are im­ported mainly from China and Hong Kong.

If the prices of im­ported fes­tive items go up at source, so will the re­tail prices here, a sit­u­a­tion that is bad for busi­ness, es­pe­cially when con­sumers are tight­en­ing their belts.

Mer­chants as well as food and bev­er­age busi­nesses polled by the daily are not op­ti­mistic about the sales out­look for the com­ing CNY.

The fact that the fes­ti­val falls at the end of Jan­uary, barely three weeks af­ter schools re­open, does not help mat­ters.

Par­ents with school-go­ing chil­dren will have less money at their dis­posal af­ter spend­ing con­sid­er­ably on school uni­forms, shoes, bags, sta­tionery and other re­lated ne­ces­si­ties.

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