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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Exports down 7.4% in May

Exports to Asia as a whole went down by 4.6%, led by the 45.5% drop in the Philippines.

Total exports fell 7.4% YoY to $317.6b in May, following a 3.7% dip in April, according to figures from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD). For the first five months, exports declined 8% over the same period in 2019.

Exports to Asia as a whole went down by 4.6% YoY in May, led by the Philippines (-45.5%), India (-37.9%), Singapore (-29.0%) and Korea (-18.4%). Meanwhile, increases were recorded in the values of total exports to Taiwan (+16.6%) and the mainland of China (the Mainland) (+0.3%).

Outside Asia, exports to the UK (‑27.3%), the US (-14.4%) and Germany (-12.9%) likewise crashed.

By major commodities, the values of total exports fell in telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-20.5%), miscellaneous manufactured articles (-39.9%), non-metallic mineral manufactures (‑34.2%) and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (-45.2%).

However, increases in exports were registered in electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (5.2%) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (12.8%).

“Taking April and May together, the value of merchandise exports fell by 5.7% from a year earlier. This was narrower than the corresponding decline of 9.7% in the first quarter,” C&SD said. “Looking ahead, Hong Kong's export performance will remain under pressure in the near term. The continued spread of COVID-19 in various places of the world is still a key threat to the global economy. The development of US-Mainland political and economic relations also warrants concern.”

On the imports side, total value slipped 12.3% YoY to $331.3b in May, a broader decline compared to the 6.7% fall recorded in April. As a result, trade deficit hit $13.7b, equivalent to 4.1% of the value of imports of goods.

Imports from the UK (-37.9%), the US (‑30.4%), the Mainland (-13.9%), Japan (-12.5%) and Singapore (-6.4%) fell, countered by imports from Vietnam (+69.6%), Taiwan (+6.9%) and Korea (+5%).

Decreases were registered in the values of imports in particular telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-18.7%), miscellaneous manufactured articles (-37.9%) and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (-52.1%). Meanwhile, imports of essential oils and resinoids and perfume materials; toilet, polishing and cleansing preparations rose to 39.8%. 

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