HK exports fall more than expected on trade war

By BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG • Exports from Hong Kong fell more than expected in December as the impact of US-China trade tensions deepened in the port city, the first time sales abroad have contracted in consecutive months since 2016.

December exports tumbled 5.8% from a year ago to HK$339.9 billion (RM177.96 billion), while imports slid 7% to HK$391.2 billion in the same period, as “the moderation in global economic growth and the US-mainland trade tensions increasingly weighed on the exports of many Asian economies,” the Hong Kong government said in a release.

“The near-term outlook for merchandise trade is challenging amid moderating global economic growth and the uncertainty surrounding the US-mainland trade relations,” the government said.

The median estimate of six economists surveyed by Bloomberg was a 1.7% decline in exports. The economists had also forecast a 2.1% drop in imports.

Exports to the rest of Asia fell 7.8% in December from a year ago, with goods shipped to India declining 36% for the biggest decrease followed by Vietnam at -16% and China at -8.7%. Exports to Germany declined 11%, while those to the US slipped 0.7%. Meanwhile, Hong Kong imports from Taiwan fell 30%, while Korean imports dropped 25% and India 24%.

Separately, Chinese regulators have allowed S&P Global Ratings’ Beijing-based unit to conduct credit rating business on the mainland, according to the People’s Bank of China. − Bloomberg