Hong Kong Exports Fall Unexpectedly on Global Slowdown

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s exports contracted unexpectedly in November, highlighting the risks for the trade-dependent city whose top two partners are embroiled in a trade war.

  • Exports fell 0.8 percent compared to last year, versus almost 15 percent growth in October, the first decline since Jan 2017. Imports grew by 0.5 percent, pushing the trade deficit to HK$45 billion ($5.8 billion).

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  • Decreases in principal commodities like "non-metallic mineral manufactures," electrical machinery, appliances and parts, textile yarn, fabrics and related products, contributed to the contraction, according to a statement by the Census and Statistics Department.
  • Exports to China are more than half the total, and these shrank by 5 percent, while shipments to the U.S. and Japan, which are the second and third largest destinations, rose.
  • "Looking ahead, merchandise exports could be subject to pressures as global economic growth continues to moderate. Despite the recent cooling of the US-Mainland trade tensions following the agreement reached in early December, the situation is still fluid and may add to the downside risks," according to a government spokesman quoted in the statement.

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  • Taiwan also posted disappointing trade data in November with an unexpected contraction in export orders, the worst result since the middle of 2016.

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