This photo taken on July 23, 2023 shows the Tsing Yi container port in Hong Kong, China. (ALEX TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong’s external trade remained weak in August, as the sluggish global economic landscape and dampened external demand continue to exert downward pressure on the city’s exports.
According to statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department on Tuesday, Hong Kong’s exports of goods declined by 3.7 percent last month to HK$358.3 billion ($45.82 billion) compared with the same period in 2022, marking the 16th consecutive month of contraction. This follows a year-on-year decrease of 9.1 percent in July, representing the third straight month of decline at an eased pace.
Imports of goods dropped 0.3 percent on a yearly basis to HK$383.9 billion in August, significantly narrowing from July’s 7.9 percent. A trade deficit of HK$25.6 billion was recorded
Imports of goods dropped 0.3 percent on a yearly basis to HK$383.9 billion in August, significantly narrowing from July’s 7.9 percent. A trade deficit of HK$25.6 billion was recorded.
“Merchandise exports stayed weak in August 2023. Exports to the United States and the European Union both shrank notably from a year earlier. Exports to the mainland and most other major Asian markets fell by varying degrees,” a government spokesperson said.
“Weak external demand for goods will continue to weigh on Hong Kong’s export performance in the near term,” the spokesperson said.
For the first eight months of 2023, goods exports in Hong Kong fell 13.2 percent compared with the same period in 2022, while imports decreased by 11 percent, leading to a trade deficit of HK$287.2 billion.
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During the three-month period ending in August, when compared with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, there was a decline of 0.3 percent in the exports of goods, and concurrently, imports saw a decrease of 0.5 percent.
Exports to Asia in August saw a year-on-year decline of 3.7 percent, with South Korea posting a 35.3 percent slump, followed by the Philippines, at 23.8 percent. Goods sold to the mainland dropped by 1.5 percent, while those to Thailand and Vietnam saw growth of 15.8 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.
Notable decreases in the value of goods imported from Hong Kong were also registered in major markets beyond Asia, with Germany posting a 24.5 percent yearly decline in August, and the United States a decline of 13.2 percent
Notable decreases in the value of goods imported from Hong Kong were also registered in major markets beyond Asia, with Germany posting a 24.5 percent yearly decline in August, and the United States a decline of 13.2 percent.
Pui Kwan-Kay, president of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ & Exporters’ Association, said the ongoing weak performance of Hong Kong’s external merchandise trade can be attributed to insufficient demand resulting from lackluster global economic development. “It is difficult to predict when Hong Kong’s export and import can rebound as it is contingent upon the global economic climate,” he said.
Speaking of the city’s proactive endeavors to expand into the Middle East and ASEAN markets, Pui said he believes that for Hong Kong to swim against the tide of international economic slowdown and improve its external trade, it is significant to tap into emerging markets while encouraging the industry to develop a greater variety of high-quality products.
The recent introduction of economic measures on the mainland to support domestic demand is expected to stabilize the mainland’s demand for goods exported from Hong Kong, according to comments from Hong Kong-based Dah Sing Bank.
The bank, however, highlighted that major central banks worldwide may keep interest rates at restrictive levels for an extended period, which can further dampen external demand. In light of the observation, it projected a decline of 5 to 10 percent in Hong Kong’s overall exports for 2023.
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