ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Hong Kong's export index climbs to 47.1

It marks the biggest jump in recent years.

The economic headwinds facing Hong Kong's exports have eased in the early part of 2017, according to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

The Export Index rose to 47.1, an increase of 13.4 from the fourth quarter of 2016, marking the biggest jump in recent years, although it remains below the watershed mark of 50.

HKTDC director of research Nicholas Kwan said this reflects a broad improvement across major industries.

"Despite the still challenging global trade environment, the HKTDC Export Index rebounded strongly... Export confidence is on the mend. We forecast export volume to increase 0.5% and export value to remain flat in 2017," he noted.

Overall, exporters have been much less pessimistic with regard to their likely export performance over the short term, yet the reading below 50 might still indicate sluggish export performance.

The indices reflected positive changes in export sentiment for major industries. Those for machinery, electronics, toys, jewellery, and timepieces recorded a moderate increase. The best-performing industry, the machinery sector, reported the highest reading of 50, a rise of 15.1 from the previous quarter. All other industries reported higher readings but remained in negative territory, with significant gains seen for toys (48.3), electronics (48.2), jewellery (45.1), and timepieces (41.7).

"The clothing sector index rebounded to 38 for 1Q17, but remained the most pessimistic amongst the major industries," said Kwan.

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