ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Exports down 5.8% to $339.9b in December amidst trade war drag

Trade volumes to India crashed 35.9%.

Hong Kong’s trade activity continued on its steady way down after exports fell 5.8% YoY to $339.9b in December amidst the heavy weight of the protracted US-China trade war, according to the Census & Statistics department.

“The value of merchandise exports showed an enlarged year-on-year decline in December 2018, as the moderation in global economic growth and the US-Mainland trade tensions increasingly weighed on the exports of many Asian economies,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.

Also read: PMI hits 48 in December as demand sinks

Total exports to Asia fell 7.8% on the back of double-digit declines in India (35.9%) and Vietnam (15.7%). Exports to the Mainland, Korea and Japan also fell by 8.7%, 4.5% and 3.6% respectively which not even growth in Singapore and Thailand could offset.

Exports to destinations other than Asia also fell including Germany (10.9%), UK (3.6%) and USA (0.7%).

“The near-term outlook for merchandise trade is challenging amidst moderating global economic growth and the uncertainty surrounding the US-Mainland trade relations,” the spokersperson added.

Also read: GDP growth slows further to 2.9% in Q3

In terms of commodity, exports of non-metallic mineral manufactures plunged 41% to $8.7b in December. The exports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts as well as office machines and automatic data processing machines fell 5.7% and 5.3% respectively.

On the other hand, exports of power generating machinery and equipment surged 48.5% to $2b.

Good imports also fell 7% YoY to $391.2b in December.

On a full-year basis, exports managed to eke out positive growth of 7.3% in 2018 as the strong performance in the first half of the year propped up the volatile showing in the latter part.

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