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HK Jan Total Exports/Imports of Goods Down 3.8%/9% YoY
The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released todaythe external merchandise trade statistics for January 2016. In January 2016, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and i...
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HK Jan Total Exports/Imports of Goods Down 3.8%/9% YoY
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2016/02/25 16:39
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The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released todaythe external merchandise trade statistics for January 2016. In January 2016, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year decreases, at 3.8% and 9.0% respectively.

In January 2016, the value of total exports of goods (comprising re-exports and domestic exports) decreased by 3.8% over a year earlier to $299.9 billion, after a year-on-year decrease of 1.1% in December 2015. Within this total, the value of re-exports decreased by 3.6% to $296.4 billion in January 2016, while the value of domestic exports decreased by 23.4% to $3.4 billion. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods decreased by 9.0% over a year earlier to $317.4 billion in January 2016, after a year-on-year decrease of 4.6% in December 2015. A visible trade deficit of $17.5 billion, equivalent to 5.5% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in January 2016.

Comparing January 2016 with January 2015, total exports to Asia as a whole went down by 6.1%. In this region, decreases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations, in particular Korea (-14.5%), Taiwan (-8.4%), the mainland of China (the Mainland) (-7.9%), Thailand (-4.4%) and Malaysia (-3.8%). On the other hand, increases were recorded in the values of total exports to India (+13.2%), the Philippines (+6.0%) and Japan (+2.8%).

Apart from destinations in Asia, decreases were also registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular the USA (-1.1%) and Germany (-1.0%). Concurrently, an increase was registered in the value of total exports to the United Kingdom (+0.1%).

Over the same period of comparison, decreases were registered in the values of imports from all major suppliers, in particular Singapore (-20.7%), Japan (-20.2%), Malaysia (-11.4%), Switzerland (-8.7%) and Korea (-8.4%). The value of imports from the Mainland also decreased by 6.9%.

Comparing January 2016 with January 2015, decreases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $7.1 billion or -19.2%), "miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares)" (by $1.6 billion or -8.6%) and "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $1.0 billion or -7.8%). However, an increase was registered in the value of total exports of "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $2.6 billion or 4.3%).

Over the same period of comparison, decreases were registered in the values of imports of most principal commodity divisions, in particular "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $7.4 billion or -11.3%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $5.0 billion or -16.3%) and "electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof" (by $3.9 billion or -3.7%).

A Government spokesman noted that merchandise exports stayed weak and continued to fall in January 2016 from a year earlier. However, the trade figures for January were somewhat distorted by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 8 this year, but on February 19 last year. It would thus be more meaningful to analyse the trade figures for January and February combined, when available, for a clearer picture of the underlying trend.

The spokesman commented further that looking ahead, global trade flows are likely to remain subdued amid a slow-growing global economy, thereby continuing to restrain Hong Kong's export performance in the near term. The uncertainties arising from monetary policy normalisation in the US, diverging monetary policies among major central banks and heightened geopolitical tensions could add further external headwinds.
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