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Financial News: Hong Kong Exports Fall Most In A Decade

Hong Kong Exports Fall Most In A Decade

01/30/2020 - 05:50:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Hong Kong's exports decreased at the fastest pace in a decade in 2019, a year in which widespread anti-government protests hampered economic activity in the city.

However, exports' growth in December beat expectations.

Exports fell 4.1 percent in 2019, which was the worst annual decline since 2009, the government said Thursday. Imports dropped 6.5 percent.

The trade deficit decreased to HK$426.755 billion in 2019 from HK$563.292 billion in the last year, data from the Census and Statistics Department showed on Thursday.

Shipments to almost all major export destinations including Mainland China decreased in 2019.

"Hong Kong's export performance is still subject to high uncertainties in the near term," the government spokesman said.

While the reduced trade tensions between the US and the Mainland helped to stabilize the global economy, external uncertainties are still high including those associated with lingering trade disputes among major economies, elevated geopolitical tensions and the development of Brexit, the spokesman noted.

"Particular attention should also be paid to the development of the novel coronavirus infection as it may weigh on economic performance of some Asian economies and disrupt economic activities in Hong Kong," the spokesman added.

The trade deficit narrowed to HK$32.497 billion in December from HK$51.249 billion in the same month last year. Economists had expected a HK$33.7 billion deficit. In October, the trade deficit was HK$26.168 billion.

Exports rose 3.3 percent annually in December, after a 1.4 percent fall in the previous month. Economists had expected a 2.7 percent rise.

December's export growth was mainly due to a visible increase in shipments to the Mainland upon a low base of comparison, a government spokesman said.

Imports decreased 1.9 percent in December, following a 5.8 percent decline in the previous month. This was in line with economists' expectation.

On a monthly basis, exports and imports fell 2.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, in December.

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