Monday May 28 2018
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Highest in 4 Years for April
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit widened 37.5 percent year-on-year to HKD 46.9 billion in April of 2018 from HKD 34.1 billion in the same month a year earlier. It is the highest trade gap for an April month since 2014 as imports jumped 11.1 percent year-on-year to HKD 377.2 billion, mostly due to electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof; office machines & automatic data processing machines and photographic equipment. Meantime, exports increased 8.1 percent to HKD 330.2 billion, mainly due to electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof and office machines & automatic data processing machines.

Year-on-year, imports jumped 11.1 percent to HKD 377.2 billion, after a 10.7 percent gain in the prior month. Purchases increased mainly from Malaysia (+93.2 percent), South Korea (+26.3 percent), Taiwan (+23.8 percent), Philippines (+17.2 percent), Japan (+10.5 percent) and China (+9.6 percent). By contrast, total imports went down from India (-26.3 percent) and Singapore (-3.3 percent).

By commodity, imports grew mostly for electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof (+18.9 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (+28.3 percent) and photographic equipment, watches & clocks (+23 percent). On the other hand, a drop was recorded in the value of imports of miscellaneous manufactured articles (-7.9 percent).

Exports rose 8.1 percent to HKD 333.2 billion, following an 8 percent gain in March. Sales to Asia as a whole grew 7.2 percent, in particular Taiwan (+27.8 percent), Singapore (+15 percent), China (+12.9 percent), Thailand (+12.6 percent) and Malaysia (+10.4 percent). In contrast, total exports fell to India (-49.5 percent) and South Korea (-2 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, an increase was recorded in the values of total exports to USA (+11.7 percent), Germany (+8 percent) and the UK (+7 percent).

By commodity, shipments advanced for electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof (+18.3 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (+17.3 percent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (+31.5 percent). Meanwhile, a fall was registered in the value of total exports of non-metallic mineral manufactures (-42.9 percent).

For the first four months of 2018 as a whole, exports rose by 9.3 percent while imports increased 10.7 percent over the same period a year earlier. As a result, the trade deficit widened 22 percent to HKD 176.8 billion.




Monday May 21 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Slows to 1.9% in April
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Inflation Rate in Hong Kong fell to 1.9 percent in April of 2018 from 2.6 percent in March, mainly due to smaller increases in prices for package tours and fresh vegetables. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the inflation was 2.2 percent, also lower than 2.6 percent in March.

Year-on-year, prices eased for food (3.5 percent from 3.7 percent); housing (1.8 percent from 2.6 percent); electricity, gas & water supply (3.7 percent from 4.3 percent); alcoholic beverages & tobacco (0.2 percent from 1 percent) and transport (0.5 percent from 1.6 percent). Also, inflation was steady for clothing & footwear (0.9 percent) and prices fell at the same pace as in March for durable goods (-2.1 percent) and educational services (-3.8 percent).

On a seasonally adjusted basis, consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent, following a 0.3 percent drop in the previous month.

A Government spokesman said that with the continued above-trend economic growth, inflationary pressures would rise somewhat over the course of 2018. The feed-through of the rise in fresh-letting residential rentals over the past year or so will also likely become more visible in the period ahead. Nevertheless, inflation rate is expected to be largely contained in the near term.




Thursday May 17 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Falls to Fresh 20-Year Low
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong fell to 2.8 percent in the three months to April of 2018, easing from 2.9 percent in the previous period. It remained the lowest rate since 1998.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons increased slightly by 800 to 112,900 in February - April 2018 when compared with the previous period, while the number of underemployed dropped by around 2,200 to 41,100. The unemployment situation improved notably for most of the main service sectors, particularly in the financing sector, as well as trade and tourism-related industries amid positive global economic conditions and further recovery in inbound tourism.

Meantime, total employment in February – April of 2018 fell by 5,800 persons to 3,866,600 and the labour force went down by around 4,900 to 3,979,500 persons.

Looking ahead, "Overall labour market conditions will likely remain tight in the near term amid the prevailing positive economic environment. Yet, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor the relevant developments." the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.




Friday May 11 2018
Hong Kong GDP Growth Strongest since 2011
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

The Hong Kong economy advanced 4.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, following a 3.4 percent expansion in the previous period. It was the strongest growth rate since the second quarter of 2011.

Positive contribution to GDP growth came from exports of goods and services, 7.8 percentage points and 2.4 percentage points respectively, and private consumption (5.7 percentage points).

In the first quarter, private consumption increased by 8.6 percent, from 6.3 percent in Q4; government spending expanded by 3.9 percent, following a 3.2 percent rise and gross fixed capital formation grew by 3.8 percent, from 3.1 percent in the previous period. Within fixed investment, expenditure on building & construction increased by 1 percent, as against the fall of 2.6 percent in Q4. Exports of goods went up by 5.2 percent (from 3.4 percent) and imports rose by 6.9 percent (from 5.4 percent). Exports of services advanced 7.5 percent (from 3.9 percent) and imports of services increased at a slower 3.8 percent (from 0.8 percent).

On a quarterly basis, the GDP advanced 2.2 percent, following a 0.8 percent rise in the prior quarter. It is the highest quarterly growth rate since the first three months of 2011. Private consumption rose by 3.1 percent (from 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017). Meantime, government spending went up 1.2 percent, rebounding from a 0.2 percent decline. Exports of goods rose 3.1 percent (from 1.1 percent) and imports increased by 2.3 percent, easing from 2.4 percent. Exports of services went up 4.8 percent (from 1.2 percent) while imports grew by 3.2 percent, from 0.8 percent in the prior period.




Thursday April 26 2018
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Widens in March
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit widened to HKD 55.5 billion in March of 2018 from HKD 42.3 billion in the same month a year earlier. Imports jumped 10.7 percent year-on-year to HKD 403.2 billion, mostly due to electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof; office machines & automatic data processing machines and petroleum & petroleum products. Meantime, exports increased 8 percent to HKD 347.7 billion, mainly due to electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof. For the first quarter of 2018 as a whole, exports rose by 9.7 percent while imports increased 10.6 percent over the same quarter in 2017. As a result, the trade deficit widened 17.3 percent to HKD 130 billion.

Year-on-year, imports jumped 10.7 percent to HKD 403.2 billion, after a 3.2 percent drop in the prior month. Purchases increased mainly from Malaysia (+98.1 percent), Switzerland (+45.8 percent), Taiwan (+34.9 percent), Singapore (+22.1 percent) and Korea (+15.9 percent). By contrast, total imports from India went down (-29.7 percent).

By commodity, imports grew mostly for electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof (+23.7 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (+24.1 percent) and power generating machinery & equipment (+42.1 percent). On the other hand, a drop was recorded in the value of imports of non-metallic mineral manufactures (-21.4 percent).

Exports rose 8 percent to HKD 347.7 billion, following a 1.7 percent gain in February. Sales to Asia as a whole grew 9.4 percent, in particular Malaysia (+17.5 percent), China (+17.3 percent), Singapore (+4.7 percent), Korea (+2.8 percent) and Thailand (+2.3 percent). In contrast, total exports fell to India (-35.3 percent) and Taiwan (-7.4 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, an increase was recorded in the values of total exports to Germany (+5.8 percent), while sales dropped for the United Kingdom (-2.4 percent) and the US (-0.8 percent).

By commodity, shipments advanced for electrical machinery & electrical parts thereof (+23.7 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (+ 24.1 percent) and power generating machinery & equipment (+42.1 percent). Meanwhile, a fall was registered in the value of total exports of non-metallic mineral manufactures (-21.4 percent).


Monday April 23 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Slows to 2.6% in March
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong rose 2.6 percent year-on-year in March of 2018, down from a 3.1 percent increase in the prior month, mainly due to a slowdown in cost for electricity, gas & water, food and transport. However, the March rate was higher than the average of 2.4 percent for January and February 2018. Inflation is averaged for the first two months of the year to neutralize the Lunar New Year effects. In 2018, the holidays fell in February but in January in 2017.


Year-on-year, prices slowed for electricity, gas and water supply (4.3 percent from 10.9 percent in February); food, excluding meals bought away from home (5 percent from 4.6 percent); transport (1.6 percent from 2.1 percent) and clothing and footwear (0.9 percent from 3.5 percent). In contrast, cost went up faster for housing (2.6 percent from 2.5 percent) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (1 percent from 0.1 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged down 0.3 percent, following a 1.3 percent gain in February.

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures went up slightly to 2.6 percent compared with the average of 2.3 percent for January and February combined. The larger increase was mainly attributable to the Easter holidays, that began earlier this year, in late March, and resulted in a notable year-on-year increase in the charges for package tours.

A Government spokesman said that with the continued above-trend economic growth, external and local inflation pressure would rise somewhat over the course f 2018. In spite of this, inflation rate is expected to be largely contained in the near term.


Thursday April 19 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Lowest Since 1998
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong was unchanged at 2.9 percent in the three months to March of 2018, the same as in each of the previous three periods. It remains the lowest rate since 1998.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons increased by 5,200 to 112,100 in January - March 2018 and compared with the previous period, while the number of underemployed dropped by around 1,400 to 38,900. Although the variation in jobless rates diverges among sectors, the unemployment situation improved notably for most of the main service sectors, particularly for trade and tourism-related industries amid positive global economic conditions and further recovery in inbound tourism.

Meantime, total employment in the first quarter of 2018 was about the same as in the three months to February (3,872,400 persons), and the labour force went up by around 5,100 to 3,979,300.

Looking ahead, "In the near term, labour market conditions will likely remain tight amid the generally favourable economic situation. Nevertheless, we will stay tuned to various external developments and their potential impact on the local labour market.", the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said. 



Tuesday March 27 2018
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Narrows in February
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong l Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit narrowed to HKD 42.7 billion in February of 2018 from HKD 56.3 billion in the same month a year earlier. Exports increased 1.7 percent year-on-year to HDK 245.7 billion, mainly due to miscellaneous manufactured articles. Meantime, imports dropped 3.2 percent to HDK 288.5 billion, mostly due to telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment.

Year-on-year, exports rose 1.7 percent to HDK 245.7 billion, following a 18.1 percent gain in January. Sales to Asia as a whole fell 5.9 percent, in particular Vietnam (-26.8 percent) and China (-10.5 percent). In contrast, total exports grew to Malaysia (21.9 percent), Philippines (16.4 percent), Japan (16.1 percent) and Singapore (16.0 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, increases were recorded in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, mainly Germany (50.5 percent), the United Kingdom (33.5 percent) and the US (31.8 percent).

By commodity, shipments advanced for: miscellaneous manufactured articles (35.8 percent); articles of apparel and clothing accessories (40.4 percent) and electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances and electrical parts thereof (2.2 percent). Meanwhile, a fall was registered in the value of total exports of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-7.7 percent).

Imports went down 3.2 percent to HDK 288.5 billion, after a 23.8 percent rise in the prior month. Purchases decreased mainly from India (-21.3 percent), the US (-14.5 percent), Japan (-13.8 percent), Taiwan (-11.8 percent), Thailand (-7.6 percent) and Singapore (-7.1 percent). By contrast, total imports went up from Malaysia (71.8 percent).

By commodity, imports dropped mostly for: telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-18.7 percent); miscellaneous manufactured articles (-11.6 percent) and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-1.0 percent). On the other hand, an increase was recorded in the value of imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines (12.3 percent).


Tuesday March 20 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Picks Up to 1-1/2 Year High
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong rose 3.1 percent year-on-year in February of 2018, up from a 1.7 percent increase in the prior month. It was the highest inflation rate since August 2016, mainly due to rising prices of electricity, gas & water and food. In addition, cost of miscellaneous services rebounded sharply.

Year-on-year, prices were higher for electricity, gas and water (10.9 percent vs 10.2 percent in January); food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.9 percent vs 2.3 percent), particularly food excluding meals bought away from home (4.6 percent vs 1.9 percent) and transport (2.1 percent vs 1.4 percent). In addition, cost rebounded significantly for miscellaneous services (4 percent vs -1.5 percent). 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 1.3 percent, after decreasing 0.1 percent in January.

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures rose to 3.1 percent from 1.7 percent in January. The larger increase was mainly attributable to the difference in the timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in mid-February this year but in late January last year, resulting in a notable year-on-year increase in the charges for package tours in February 2018.

A Government spokesman said that inflation pressure in early 2018 remained moderate and added that with the continued expansion in global and local economies, underlying inflation pressure may increase somewhat over the course of 2018. In spite of this, the inflation rate is expected to be contained at a moderate level.


Monday March 19 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at 2.9%
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong remained unchanged at 2.9 percent in the three months to February of 2018, the same as in the two previous periods.

Comparing to the previous three-month period, the number of unemployed persons was almost the same at 106,900 in December 2017 - February 2018 and the number of underemployed also remained barely unchanged at 40,300. Among sectors, despite the changes in individual jobless rates were minimal compared to the preceding three-month period, the unemployment situation continued to improve notably across many service sectors, particularly for tourism-related industries such as retail and accommodation services amid the further recovery in inbound tourism.

Meantime, total employment increased by around 10,300 to 3.872 million in the three months to February, and the labour force went up by 10,600 to 3.979 million.

Looking ahead, "The labour market will likely remain tight in the near term on the back of generally positive local economic sentiment. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.", the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.