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Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 15:08

HK trade shrinks amid 'challenging' environment

By Lin Wenjie
HK trade shrinks amid 'challenging' environment
Workers stand atop shipping containers at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals in Hong Kong, China, on Monday, Dec 7, 2015. ( David Paul Morris / Bloomberg)

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's total exports in June fell 1 percent from a year earlier to US$38.2 billion, worse than the decrease of 0.1 percent in May 2016. The city’s total imports fell 0.9 percent to US$44.1 billion, an improvement on May’s decrease of 4.3 percent. A trade deficit of US$45.6 billion, equivalent to 13.3 percent of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in June, according to the statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department.

For the first half of 2016, the value of total exports dropped 3.9 percent, while imports fell 5.6 percent from a year earlier. The city recorded a visible trade deficit of US$25.7 billion for the first half, equivalent to 10.8 percent of the value of imports.

Second quarter trading statistics outperformed the first quarter. Total exports increased by 6.9 percent in the second quarter compared with the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis. Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods increased 4.5 percent.

The government spokesman noted that the exports declined slightly in June amid sluggish global demand, with mixed performance across major markets. Yet the rate of decline in exports narrowed considerably from 6.8 percent in the first quarter to 1.2 percent in the second quarter, indicating a relative improvement in performance in recent months.

Looking ahead, the spokesman said that the external trading environment remains challenging given the uncertainties associated with the outcome of the UK referendum in favor of leaving the European Union, slow recovery in the advanced markets, monetary policy divergence among major central banks, and heightened geopolitical tensions in various regions.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council forecast in December 2015 that Hong Kong's total export value would be zero in 2016, with global economic growth remaining weak and with the US dollar staying mostly strong.

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