Friday September 20 2019
Hong Kong August Inflation Rate Rises to 3-Year High
Census and Statistics Department | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The annual inflation rate in Hong Kong rose to 3.5 percent in August 2019 from 3.3 percent in the previous month. It was the highest inflation rate since August 2016, mainly boosted by food and transport prices.

Year-on-year, prices advanced further for food (6.3 percent from 5.9 percent in July), driven by food, excluding meals bought away from home (14.2 percent from 12.8 percent); and transport (2.9 percent from 1.9 percent). In addition, cost dropped less for electricity, gas and water (-5.2 percent from -5.9 percent); and clothing and footwear (-0.6 percent from -2.0 percent). On the other hand, prices slowed for housing (3.9 percent from 4.0 percent); miscellaneous goods (1.3 percent from 2.7 percent); miscellaneous services (1.3 percent from 1.4 percent); and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (a flat reading from 2.4 percent). Also, cost of durable goods declined at a faster pace (-1.5 percent from -1.2 percent).

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants went up to 4.1 percent from 3.9 percent in July.

"Looking ahead, modest global inflation and sluggish local economic growth should continue to help contain overall inflation.  Yet, food inflation will probably stay elevated in the near term due to high prices of fresh pork. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.", a government spokesman said.




Tuesday September 17 2019
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Flat at 1-1/2-Year High of 2.9%
Census and Statistics Department | Agna Gabriel | agna.gabriel@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 2.9 percent in the three months to August 2019, remaining the highest jobless rate since the three months to March period of 2018. The underemployment rate was unchanged at 1.0 percent, the same as in the previous period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons increased by around 2,00 to 120,600 in June-August 2019 when compared with the prior period, while the number of underemployed was 41,000, about the same as that in May-July 2019 (40,700). The unemployment situation in different industry sectors varied. A relatively notable decrease was observed in the construction sector, while an increase was mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities sector. Movements in the underemployment rates in different industry sectors also varied, but were generally small in magnitude.

Meantime, the number of employed decreased by around 3,600 to 3,864 thousand and the labour force participation rate went down to 60.6 percent from 60.7 percent.

Looking ahead, "As economic conditions have deteriorated further lately, the local labour market will unavoidably be subject to increasing pressure in the near term. The Government will monitor the labour market closely." the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said. 




Monday August 26 2019
Hong Kong Trade Gap Narrows in July
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The trade deficit in Hong Kong narrowed to HKD 32.2 billion in July 2019 from HKD 47.1 billion in the corresponding month of the previous year. Exports fell 5.7 percent over a year earlier and imports declined at a faster 8.7 percent.

Year-on-year, imports decreased 8.7 percent to HKD 370.8 billion in July, mainly due to lower purchases of electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-9.6 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (-14.2 percent); and non-metallic mineral manufactures (-20.5 percent). On the other hand, imports of power generating machinery and equipment rose 5.4 percent.

Among major trading partners, imports fell from Malaysia (-30.9 percent), South Korea (-29.3 percent), Singapore (-20.7 percent), Switzerland (-11.7 percent), India (-11.6 percent), the US (-10.7 percent) and the Mainland (-4 percent).

Exports declined 5.7 percent to HKD 338.6 billion, mostly due to lower sales of electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-6.9 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (-8.7 percent); and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-4.5 percent). In contrast, sales of power generating machinery and equipment jumped 50.5 percent.

Exports to Asia as a whole fell 5.5 percent, namely Malaysia (-14.7 percent), Vietnam (-8.6 percent), the Mainland (-7.1 percent), Thailand (-7.0 percent) and India (-5.6 percent). Meanwhile, sales advanced to the Philippines (26.0 percent) and Taiwan (21.1 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, export decreased to Germany (-13.0 percent) and the US (-10.3 percent) while increased to the UK (4.1 percent).

A Government spokesman said that the value of merchandise exports fell further by 5.7% year-on-year in July, affected by softening global economic growth and US-Mainland trade tensions. These unfavourable external developments also continued to pose a drag on manufacturing and trading activities in many Asian economies. Against this background, merchandise exports to many major markets registered declines of varying degrees in July. Looking forward, in the face of the difficult external environment and the further escalation of US-Mainland trade tensions in September, Hong Kong's near-term export performance should remain sluggish or may even weaken further. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.




Tuesday August 20 2019
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Steady at Near 3-Year High
Census and Statistics Department | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The annual inflation rate in Hong Kong was at 3.3 percent in July 2019, unchanged from the previous month. It remained the highest inflation since August of 2016, mostly driven by cost of food and transport.

Year-on-year, prices went up further for food (5.9 percent from 5.6 percent in June), boosted by food, excluding meals bought away from home (12.8 percent from 12.1 percent) and those bought away from home (2.2 percent from 2.1 percent); transport (1.9 percent from 1.7 percent); miscellaneous goods (2.7 percent from 2.1 percent); and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.4 percent from 1.8 percent). Additionally, cost fell less for  durable goods (-1.2 percent from -1.5 percent); and clothing and footwear (-2.0 percent from -3.1 percent). Meanwhile, prices eased for housing (4.0 percent from 4.1 percent); and miscellaneous services (1.4 percent from 2.1 percent). Also, cost of electricity, gas and water dropped at a faster pace (-5.9 percent from -5.1 percent).  

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants was steady at 3.9 percent in July.

“Looking ahead, overall price pressures should remain largely contained in the near term amid the earlier easing in fresh-letting residential rentals, modest global inflation and subdued local economic conditions. Yet, the inflation rate in the next few months will hinge on the supply situation and thus prices of fresh pork. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.”, a government spokesman said.


Monday August 19 2019
Hong Kong Jobless Rate at 16-Month High of 2.9%
Census and Statistics Department | Agna Gabriel | agna.gabriel@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong increased to 2.9 percent in the three months to July of 2019 from 2.8 percent in the previous period. It was the highest jobless rate since the three months to March period of 2018. The underemployment rate was unchanged at 1.0 percent, the same as in the previous period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons went up by 4,200 to 118,500 in May-July 2019 when compared with the prior period, while the number of underemployed dropped by 500 to 40,700 persons. The unemployment situation in most sectors remained largely stable. Yet, as the consumption market stayed soft, the unemployment rate of the retail, accommodation and food services sectors taken together went up from the preceding three-month period. Also, the import and export trade sector has been facing increasing pressure amid shrinking trade flows, with the unemployment rate generally on the rise since early this year.

Meantime, the number of employed decreased by 3,300 to 3,867 thousand and the labour force participation rate was steady at 60.7 percent.

Looking ahead, "The economy is expected to stay weak in the coming months, the local labour market will unavoidably be subject to greater pressure. The Government will monitor the labour market situation closely." the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.


Friday August 16 2019
Hong Kong Q2 GDP Growth Revised Lower to 10-Year Low
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's annual economic growth was revised lower to 0.5 percent in the second quarter of 2019, compared with a preliminary reading of 0.6 percent. That was the weakest pace of expansion since a contraction seen in the third quarter of 2009 amid ongoing trade tensions between China and the US, and growing social unrest.

Gross domestic fixed capital formation decreased significantly by 11.6 percent in the second quarter, following a 7 percent contraction in the previous period. Within the total GDFCF, expenditure on machinery, equipment and intellectual property products dropped by 12.4 percent (vs -1.7 percent in Q1), while expenditure on building and construction fell by 10.6 percent (-3.5 percent in Q1).  Within this category, expenditure on building and construction in respect of private and public sectors decreased by 6.2 percent and 19.5 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, private consumption expenditure rose by 1.1 percent, faster than the 0.4 percent growth in the first quarter; and government consumption expenditure advanced by 4.2 percent, after the increase of 4.5 percent in the previous period.

Over the same period, total exports of goods declined by 5.6 percent (vs -3.7 percent in Q1) and imports of goods decreased by 7 percent (vs -4.2 percent in Q1). Exports of services were 0.2 percent lower (vs 0.8 percent in Q1), while imports of services increased by 1.6 percent (vs -1.5 percent in Q1).

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the economy shrank by 0.4 percent in the second quarter, worse than a preliminary estimate of a 0.3 percent decline.

The government lowered its growth forecast for 2019 to 0-1 percent from 2-3 percent previously estimated.




Wednesday July 31 2019
Hong Kong Q2 GDP Growth Flat at 0.6%
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's economy grew 0.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, the same pace as in the previous three-month period but below market expectations of 1.6 percent, an advance estimate showed.

Hong Kong's growth outlook remains subdued amid ongoing trade tensions between China and the US, and growing social unrest.

On a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the economy shrank by 0.3 percent, compared with 1.3 percent expansion in the first quarter.

The government expects GDP growth of 2-3 percent this year, versus 3 percent in 2018.


Thursday July 25 2019
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens in June
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The trade deficit in Hong Kong widened to HKD 55.2 billion in June 2019 from HKD 54.1 billion in the same month of the previous year. Exports dropped 9 percent over a year earlier, the largest decline since February 2016 and imports fell at a softer 7.5 percent.

Year-on-year, exports went down 9 percent to HKD 309.6 billion in June 2019, mostly due to lower sales of electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-8.9 percent); telecommunications & sound recording and reproducing apparatus & equipment (-13.2 percent); and office machines & automatic data processing machines (-21.2 percent). Meanwhile, sales of miscellaneous manufactured articles increased 7.7 percent.

Exports to Asia as a whole dropped 8.4 percent, namely Thailand (-13.6 percent), the Mainland (-10.6 percent), South Korea (-8.4 percent), Malaysia (-7.8 percent), and Japan (-6.5 percent). On the other hand, exports went up to the Philippines (33.2 percent) and Taiwan (13.9 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, export decreased to Germany (-14.4 percent) and the US (-6.6 percent).

Imports declined 7.5 percent to HKD 364.8 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-8.9 percent); telecommunications & sound recording and reproducing apparatus & equipment (-14.7 percent); and office machines & automatic data processing machines (-17.5 percent). In contrast, purchases of power generating machinery and equipment advanced 27.8 percent.

Among major trading partners, imports fell from South Korea (-25.7 percent), India (-17.4 percent), Taiwan (-10.8 percent),  Malaysia (-9 percent), Thailand (-8.2 percent), and the Mainland (-2.3 percent). Meantime, imports rose from Switzerland (2.4 percent).

A Government spokesman said that the year-on-year decrease in the value of merchandise exports enlarged to 9.0% in June, as the soft global economic environment and continued US-Mainland trade tensions put further strains on manufacturing activities and trade flows in Asia. Exports to most major markets recorded declines of varying degrees. Looking ahead, the near-term performance of Hong Kong's merchandise exports will remain constrained by the softening global economy and uncertainties arising from US-Mainland trade tensions and other external developments. The Government will stay vigilant.


Monday July 22 2019
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Jumps to Near 3-Year High of 3.3%
Census and Statistics Department | Agna Gabriel | agna.gabriel@tradingeconomics.com

The annual inflation rate in Hong Kong increased to 3.3 percent in June of 2019 from 2.8 percent in the previous month and well above market expectations of 2.7 percent. It was the highest inflation since August of 2016, mainly due to higher prices of food and transport.

Year-on-year, prices advanced faster for food (5.6 percent from 3.6 percent in May), led by food, excluding meals bought away from home (12.1 percent from 6.5 percent) and those bought away from home (2.1 percent, the same as in May); and transport (1.7 percent from 1.5 percent). In addition, inflation was steady for miscellaneous services (at 2.1 percent), namely educational services (at 2.3 percent); and miscellaneous goods (at 2.1 percent). 

On the other hand, cost slowed for housing (4.1 percent from 4.2 percent) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1.8 percent from 3.2 percent) while prices continued to fall for durable goods (-1.5 percent from -2 percent); clothing and footwear (-3.1 percent from -1.2 percent) and electricity, gas and water (-5.1 percent from -4.9 percent).  

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants rose to 3.9 percent in June from 3.1 percent in the prior month. 

Looking ahead, inflation will likely remain moderate in the near term, in tandem with the easing in fresh-letting residential rentals earlier on and in external price pressures. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.”, a government spokesman said.


Thursday July 18 2019
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at Over 21-Year Low
Census and Statistics Department | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong was unchanged at 2.8 percent in the three months to June 2019, remaining the lowest jobless rate since January 1998. Also, the underemployment rate stood at 1.0 percent, the same as in the previous period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons rose by 200 to 114,300 in April-June 2019 when compared with the previous period and the number of underemployed advanced by around 2,000 to 41,200 persons. On a yearly basis, the unemployment situation was broadly steady in most economic sectors. However, unemployment in foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector increased over the past year and the jobless rate in the import and export trade sector also rose over a year earlier amid weaker trade flow.

Meantime, the number of employed went up by 1,600 to 3,869 thousand and the labour force participation rate was steady at 60.7 percent. 

Looking ahead, "The labour market is expected to remain largely stable in the near term. The Government will stay vigilant to how a softer economic environment and other unfavourable factors will affect the local labour market going forward." the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.