Thursday February 22 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Steady at 5-Month High in January
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The consumer price index in Hong Kong rose 1.7 percent year-on-year in January of 2018, the same pace as in the preceding month. Still, the inflation rate remains at its highest level since August amid higher cost of electricity, gas and water and clothing.

Year-on-year, prices increased at a faster pace for electricity, gas and water (10.2 percent vs +/-0.1 percent), mainly due to a low base effect after the special fuel rebate in electricity was introduced in January last year.  Also, inflation was up for clothing and footwear (2.6 percent vs 1.4 percent) and miscellaneous goods (1.4 percent vs 1.3 percent) while rremained the same for housing (2.5 percent). 

Meanwhile, cost slowed for food (2.3 percent vs 2.4 percent), especially food excluding meals bought away from home (1.9 percent vs 2.8 percent) and transport (1.4 percent vs 1.7 percent). Also, prices fell for miscellaneous services (-1.5 percent vs 0.1 percent); durable goods (-1.6 percent vs -1.4 percent) and alcoholic beverages (-0.2 percent vs -0.3 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were down 0.1 percent, compared to a 0.4 percent increase in December.

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures was also 1.7 percent, virtually unchanged from December. A Government spokesman said that a spike in electricity charge due to the low base of comparison created by the special fuel rebate a year ago was broadly offset by the temporary drag effect from the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year (which fell in mid-February this year but in late January last year) that led to year-on-year declines in items such as charges for package tours.

Looking ahead, inflationary pressures may increase slightly in the rest of the year amid a stronger global economy and continued expansion of the local economy, the Government spokesman said. For February, the year-on-year inflation rate is likely to see a temporary pick-up due to the distortions caused by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year.




Thursday February 22 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Unchanged at 20-Year Low
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 2.9 percent in the three months to January of 2018, unchanged from the previous period's 20-year low. The number of unemployed and underemployed continued to decline while employment increased further.

Comparing to the previous three-month period, the number of unemployed persons fell by 3,200 to 106,600 in November 2017 - January 2018, while the number of underemployed decreased by around 1,900 to 40,200. Analysed by sector, the changes in individual jobless rates were minimal when compared to the preceding three-month period. Nevertheless, unemployment situation improved notably across many major service sectors on a year-on-year comparison, led by tourism-related industries such as retail and accommodation services amid the further recovery in inbound tourism, as well as the financing, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sectors on the back of strong economic conditions.

Meantime, total employment rose by 11,500 to 3.862 million in the three months to January, and the labour force by around 8,300 to 3.960 million.

Looking ahead, "In view of the sanguine economic situation on entering 2018, the labour market is expected to remain tight in the near term. Yet the employment outlook for the rest of the year will continue to hinge on how various external uncertainties evolve. We will stay vigilant and monitor the situation closely.", the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.




Thursday January 25 2018
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens in December as Imports Climb
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong l Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit increased to HKD 59.9 billion in December of 2017 from HKD 45.5 billion in the corresponding month of the previous year. Imports jumped 9 percent to HKD 420.6 billion, underpinned by higher purchases of electrical machinery and petroleum and petroleum products. Meanwhile exports grew at a slower 6 percent to HKD 360.7 billion, driven by sales of office machines and non-metallic mineral manufactures.

Year-on-year, imports surged 9 percent to HKD 420.6 billion, after a 8.6 percent jump in the previous month. Purchases grew mainly from major suppliers, such as Malaysia (60.7 percent), Taiwan (30.3 percent), Korea (17.6 percent), Thailand (14.6 percent) and the US (9.8 percent). Conversely, a decrease was registered in the value of imports from Singapore (-5.7 percent).

By commodity, imports rose mostly for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (15.4 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (9.1 percent) and petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (28.3 percent). However, a decline was reported in the value of imports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-3.8 percent).

Exports advanced 6 percent to HKD 360.7 billion, following a 7.8 percent increase in November. Sales to Asia as a whole grew 4.3 percent, in particular to India (66.6 percent), the Philippines (22.8 percent), Thailand (19.8 percent), Japan (10.8 percent), Malaysia (10.5 percent) and China (1.7 percent). On the other hand, falls were recorded in the values of total exports to Taiwan (-10.1 percent) and Singapore (-9.1 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, gains were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, namely Germany (28.7 percent) and the US (11.5 percent). Meanwhile, a decrease was recorded in exports to the United Kingdom (-3.3 percent).

By commodity, shipments rose for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (6.8 percent); non-metallic mineral manufactures (50.7 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines ( 9.8 percent). However, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-2.3 percent).

For 2017 as a whole, the trade shortfall widened to HKD 481.1 billion from HKD 420.1 billion, as purchases (8.7 percent) increased faster than sales (8 percent). 




Tuesday January 23 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate at 4-Month High in December
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The consumer price index in Hong Kong increased 1.7 percent year-on-year in December of 2017, following a 1.6 percent increase in the prior month. It was the highest inflation rate since August last year. Prices advanced faster for food while grew at the same pace for housing and transport. A Government spokesman said that inflation pressure should remain moderate in the near term, considering the still-modest global inflation and steady rises in local costs. Nevertheless, going further ahead, it may increase somewhat if the global economic upturn continues and the local economy sustains notable growth.

Year-on-year, cost rose faster for food (2.4 percent vs 2.3 percent in November), namely food excluding meals bought away from home (2.8 percent vs 2.6 percent) and food excluding meals away from home (1.8 percent vs 1.6 percent). Also, prices were higher for miscellaneous goods (1.3 percent vs 0.8 percent) and clothing and footwear (1.4 percent vs 0.9 percent). Meantime, cost of durable goods fell less (-1.4 percent vs -2.5 percent).

On the other hand, inflation remained steady for housing (2.5 percent); transport (1.7 percent) and miscellaneous services (0.1 percent). 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.4 percent, above 0.3 percent in the previous month.

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures was also 1.7 percent, slightly higher than 1.6 percent in November, mainly due to the smaller decreases in the prices of fresh vegetables. Also relevant were increases in the costs for meals bought away from home.


Thursday January 18 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1998
Census and Statistics Department | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong declined to 2.9 percent in the three months to December of 2017 from 3.0 percent in the previous period. It was the lowest jobless rate since January of 1998, mostly due to decreases in the real state and construction sector. Meanwhile, the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.1 percent for the sixth consecutive period.

Comparing to the previous three-month period, the number of unemployed persons fell by about 8 000 to 109,800 in October-December 2017, while the number of underemployed persons increased by around 500 to 42 100.

Meantime, total employment rose by 10,300 to 3.850 million in the three months to December, and the labour force by around 2,400 to 3.960 million.

Looking ahead, "The overall benign economic conditions are expected to keep the labour market tight in the near term. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor closely the various external uncertainties and developments in the local labour market.", the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.


Thursday December 28 2017
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens in November
Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit increased by 16.8 percent to HKD 39.7 billion in November 2017 from HKD 34.1 billion in the same month of the previous year. Imports rose 8.6 percent to HKD 407.1 billion while exports advanced at a softer 7.8 percent to HKD 367.4 billion. Considering the January to November period, the trade deficit widened to HKD 421.2 billion from HKD 374.9 billion in the same period of the previous year, with imports soaring 8.7 percent and exports rising 8.2 percent.

Year-on-year, imports soared 8.6 percent to HKD 407.1 billion, after a 7.9 percent increase in the prior month. Purchases grew mostly from Malaysia (68.5 percent), India (38.1 percent), the Philippines (25.4 percent), Korea (21.7 percent), Thailand (8.9 percent), China (6.5 percent) and Taiwan (4.7 percent). By contrast, decreases were registered in the values of imports from the United States (-7.4 percent) and Japan (-0.6 percent).

By commodity, imports advanced mainly for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (12.8 percent); non-metallic mineral manufactures (37.6 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (16.8 percent). However, a decline was registered in the value of imports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-5 percent).

Exports increased at a softer 7.8 percent to HKD 367.4 billion, following a 6.7 percent gain in October. Shipments to Asia as a whole grew 8.9 percent, in particular to India (17 percent), Japan (14.6 percent), the Philippines (12.3 percent), Vietnam (11.6 percent), China (10.1 percent), Malaysia (8.2 percent) and Korea (6.1 percent). On the other hand, a decrease was recorded in the value of total exports to Singapore (-15.5 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, increases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular Germany (13.1 percent) and the United States (7.4 percent). Conversely, a fall was registered in the value of total exports to the United Kingdom (-3 percent).

By commodity, sales rose for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (15.6 percent); non-metallic mineral manufactures (28.8 percent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares) (13.7 percent). However, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports of photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (-6.4 percent).


Thursday December 21 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Rises to 1.6% in November
Census and Statistics Department | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased 1.6 percent year-on-year in November of 2017, following a 1.5 percent rise in the previous month. Prices went up at a faster pace for housing, transport and miscellaneous goods.


Year-on-year, prices advanced faster for housing (2.5 percent compared to 2.4 percent in October);  transport (1.7 percent compared to 0.8 percent) and miscellaneous goods (0.8 percent compared to 0.6 percent). In addition, prices rebounded for miscellaneous services (0.1 percent compared to -0.4 percent) and clothing and footwear (0.9 percent compared to -0.5 percent) and fell at a softer pace for durable goods (-2.5 percent compared to -2.9 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-0.2 percent compared to -1.3 percent). Meantime, cost rose at a softer pace for food (2.3 percent compared to 2.9 percent), particularly food excluding meals bought away from home (1.6 percent compared to 3.3 percent) and decreased for utilities (-0.1 percent compared to 0.2 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.3 percent, the same as in the previous month. 

A Government spokesman said that consumer price inflation remained modest in November. The spokesman also commented that looking ahead, inflation pressure should be limited in the near term, given the prevailing mild external price pressure and moderate rises in local costs. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.


Monday December 18 2017
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at 3.0%
Census and Statistics Department | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong remained unchanged at 3.0 percent in the three months to November of 2017. The number of unemployed and underemployed persons declined and employment slightly increased while the labour force fell.


Comparing to the previous three-month period, the number of unemployed persons decreased by about 5 800 to 117,800 in September-November 2017; and the number of underemployed persons declined by around 2,600 to 41,600, mainly in the construction sector.

Meantime, total employment increased by 3,200 to 3.840 million in the three months to November, and the labour force fell by around 2,700 to 3.958 million.

On the short-term outlook, "Labour market conditions will likely remain tight in the near term given the generally favourable macroeconomic environment. This notwithstanding, we will stay tuned to various uncertainties in the external environment and developments in the local labour market.", the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.


Monday November 27 2017
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Widens 18.1% in October
Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade gap widened sharply by 18.1 percent to HKD 44.0 billion in October 2017 from HKD 37.2 billion in the same month of the previous year, but below market expectations of a HKD 44.7 billion deficit.

Year-on-year, imports surged 7.9 percent to HKD 378.7 billion, after a 9.7 percent gain in the previous month. Purchases increased mostly from Malaysia (57.3 percent), the Philippines (32 percent), South Korea (20.8 percent), Taiwan (13.5 percent) and China (6.9 percent). Concurrently, decreases were registered in the values of imports from India (-15.1 percent) and Japan (-4.1 percent).

By commodity, imports grew mostly for: Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (14.5 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (14.3 percent); and miscellaneous manufactured articles, mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (14.8 percent). However, a decrease was registered in the value of imports of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-2.1 percent).

Exports rose at a softer 6.7 percent to HKD 334.7 billion, after a 9.4 percent gain in the preceding month. Exports to Asia as a whole grew by 8 percent, mainly to India (36.5 percent), Thailand (23.4 percent), the Philippines (17.4 percent), Japan (14.9 percent), Taiwan (10.8 percent), South Korea (6.8 percent) and China (6.4 percent). On the other hand, a decrease was recorded in the value of total exports to Malaysia (-2.2 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, increases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular Germany (22.6 percent), the United Kingdom (6.1 percent) and the United States (0.2 percent).

By commodity, sales expanded for: Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (6.8 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (15.5 percent); and non-metallic mineral manufactures (14.7 percent). However, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports of photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (-6.1 percent).

Considering January to October, the trade deficit widened to HKD 381.7 billion from HKD 342.8 billion in the same period of the previous year, with imports increasing 8.7 percent and exports rising 8.3 percent.


Tuesday November 21 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Rises to 1.5% In October
Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased 1.5 percent year-on-year in October of 2017, higher than 1.4 percent in September. The slight uptick in annual inflation rate was mainly driven by rising prices of housing and food while cost of miscellaneous services fell less.

Year-on-year, prices advanced faster for housing (2.4 percent vs 2.3 percent in September); food (2.9 percent vs 2.4 percent), particularly food exlcuding meals bought away from home (3.3 percent vs 1.9 percent) and miscellaneous goods (0.6 percent vs 0.5 percent). In addition, cost decreased less for miscellaneous services (-0.4 percent vs -0.6 percent) and durable goods (-2.9 percent vs -3.3 percent).

On the other hand, prices slowed for transport (0.8 percent vs 1.8 percent) while fell for clothing and footwear (-0.5 percent vs 0.4 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-1.3 percent vs 0.5 percent).

A Government spokesman said that consumer price inflation stayed fairly modest in October. The spokesman also commented that looking ahead, considering the slow increases in import prices and moderate local cost pressure, inflation risks should remain limited in the near term. The Government will continue to monitor the inflation developments closely, particularly its impact on the lower-income people.