Conflicting reports out of China continue to keep luxury investors wondering if the "immune" part of retail is about to crack.
The HSBC Purchasing Managers Index showed Thursday manufacturing in China continued to contract for the eighth-consecutive month. This comes on top of recent interest-rate cuts , the first since 2008 as data continues to point to growth slowing.
However, today we saw some encouraging headline news from luxury. Swiss watch exports increased 16.2 percent in May after posting a disappointing 7.9-percent increase in April. That is a pretty significant data point for luxury, considering the Chinese account for about one third of global watch sales, not to mention China is neck-and-neck in competition with Japan to be the second-largest luxury player.
While the overall number was a relief, there are even mixed signals below that headline.
Although Hong Kong, Japan and even parts of Europe were strong (U.K. up 22 percent and Italy up 20 percent, for example), China decelerated to a 13-percent gain. Sure, the Chinese consumer purchases as much as half of luxury spending overseas, but this is not a new development so it cannot explain the drop off from growth in the mid-20-percent range.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page