ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Hong Kong trade deficit narrows to $244.2b for H1

Total trade exports and imports decreased by 3.6% and 4.5% in H1.

Hong Kong recorded a total visible trade deficit of $244.2b or about 11.4% of the value of imports of goods for the first half of the year, an improvement from $273.7b in H1 2018, data from the Census & Statistics Department (C&SD) revealed

All in all, the total trade exports and imports decreased by 3.6% and 4.5% in the first half of the year compared to H1 2018.

Amongst principal commodities, the three divisions with the largest declines were the electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts division, which fell by 8.9% or a $11.7b decrease; telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment goods, which dropped by 13.2% or a $8.1b decrease; and office machines and automatic data processing machines with a 21.2% fall amounting to $7.9b deficit.

For June, total exports and imports of goods decreased by 9% and 7.5% YoY respectively compared to June 2018. A visible trade deficit of $55.2b, equivalent to 15.1% of the value of imports of goods, was also recorded in June.

Comparing the second quarter of 2019 with the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods slipped by 0.3% whilst the value of imports of goods fell by 0.5%.

A government spokesman attributed the decrease in exports to soft global economic environment, as well as the continuing trade tensions that put a strain on manufacturing activities and trade flows in Asia.

In the region, total exports decreased to most major destinations such as Thailand (-13.6%), mainland China (-10.6%), Korea (-8.4%), Malaysia (-7.8%) and Japan (-6.5%). Exports to Germany and USA also slipped 14.4% and 6.6%.

On the other hand, exports increased to the Philippines and Taiwan by 33.2% and 13.9%, respectively. The value of total exports to the United Kingdom also rose by 28.6%.

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