Thursday October 19 2017
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at 3.1%
Marta Dubiel | marta.dubiel@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 3.1 percent for the fourth consecutive three-month period in September of 2017. It remains the lowest jobless rate since February of 2014, as unemployment fell mainly in the professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) and retail sectors. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.1 percent, the lowest level in almost two decades.

Comparing to the previous three-month period, the number of unemployed persons decreased by around 1,800 to 128,000 and the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1,500 to 43,700. As far as the underemployment is concerned, a decrease was recorded in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, while an increase was noted in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector.

Meanwhile, total employment decreased by around 3,800 to 3.84 million in July-September 2017, and the labour force decreased by around 5,600 to 3.97 million.

“Barring any abrupt downturns in the external environment, labour market conditions will likely remain favourable in the near term. Yet, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor the relevant developments.”, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare said.




Tuesday September 26 2017
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Widens in August
Statistics Department of Hong Kong lLuisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade gap increased by 10.6 percent to HKD 35.53 billion in August of 2017 from a HKD 32.10 billion shortfall in the same month of the previous year, as imports rose at a faster 7.7 percent and exports advanced 7.4 percent. Considering the January to August period, the trade deficit widened to HKD 293.1 billion from HKD 264.8 billion in the same period of the previous year, with imports increasing 8.6 percent and exports rising 8.4 percent.

Year-on-year, imports surged 7.7 percent to HKD 368.2 billion in August of 2017, after a 5.5 percent gain in the previous month. Increases were recorded from major suppliers, namely the Philippines (35.7 percent); Korea (30.9 percent); Singapore (30.2 percent); Malaysia (15.4 percent); Thailand (12.9 percent) and China (3.9 percent). Meanwhile, purchases declined from India (-7.8 percent).

By commodity, imports grew for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (13.1 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (15.4 percent); petroleum, petroleum products and related materials (62.6 percent). In contrast, a decrease was registered in purchases of articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-7.6 percent).

Exports rose 7.4 percent to HKD 332.7 billion in August of 2017, after a 7.7 percent gain in the preceding month. Exports to Asia as a whole grew 10 percent, mainly to Taiwan (23.6 percent); Thailand (22.1 percent); the Philippines (15.9 percent); Japan (11.4 percent); China (10.8 percent) and Vietnam (5.7 percent) while fell to Korea (-8.3 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, an increase was reported to Germany (6.5 percent) while decreases were seen to the United Kingdom (-18.2 percent) and the United States (-5.5 percent).

By commodity, exports advanced for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (11 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (18.9 percent) and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (3 percent). However, sales of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 13.1 percent.

A Government spokesman noted that merchadise exports grew notably further in August, boosted by strengthened global demand. The spokesman commented also that looking ahead, the improvement in global economic conditions should continued to support Asia and Hong Kong's export performance. However, the external environment is still under various uncertainties, particularly those arising from the US monetary policy normalisation as well possible actions by other major central banks, Brexit and possible rise of protectionist sentiment and elevated geopolitical tensions in various regions.




Thursday September 21 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Slows to 1.9% in August
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased 1.9 percent year-on-year in August of 2017, easing from 2 percent in the previous month. Prices advanced at a softer pace for food and transport while rose faster for housing and miscellaneous services.

Year-on-year, prices rose less for food (2.4 percent vs 2.5 percent in July), as cost of meals bought away from home advanced at the same pace (2.7 percent) and the one of food, excluding meals away from home slowed (1.9 percent vs 2.2 percent). Also, prices advanced at a slower pace for transport (1.1 percent vs 3 percent) while fell for alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-0.8 percent vs -0.2 percent) and durable goods (-3 percent vs -3.6 percent).

In contrast, cost increased faster for: housing (2.8 percent vs 2.7 percent); miscellaneous services (1.8 percent vs 1.4 percent), of which education (3 percent vs 2.8 percent) and medical services (5.1 percent vs 4.7 percent); clothing and footwear (1.6 percent vs 0.9 percent) and miscellaneous goods (0.6 percent vs 0.5 percent).

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures was also 1.9 percent, slightly smaller than 2 percent in July, mainly due to the decreases in inbound and outbound transport fares.




Monday September 18 2017
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady For 3rd Month
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 3.1 percent in the three month to August of 2017, unchanged from the previous two periods. It remains the lowest jobless rate since February of 2014. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.1 percent, the lowest level in almost two decades.

Compared to the three months to July, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1,800 to 130,000 and the number of underemployed also grew by 900 to 45,200.

Despite small movements in the unemployment rates of most of the major economic sectors when compared to the preceding three-month period, the unemployment rates of many sectors were generally lower than their year-ago levels. In particular, the tourism-related segment (retail, accomodation and food services), which stood at 4.6 percent, the lowest since the end 2015.

Total employment rose by around 7,700 to 3.8412 million and the labour force also went up to 3.9712 million from 3.9617 million in May-July 2017.

Looking ahead, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare said "While overall labour market conditions are expected to remain tight in the near term, we will stay vigilant to the potential impact of various external uncertainties".


Thursday August 24 2017
Hong Kong Trade Gap Lowest in 6 Months
Statistics Department of Hong Kong l Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit decreased to HKD 29.601 billion in July of 2017 from a HKD 33.3 billion shortfall a year earlier. It is the smallest trade gap since January (HKD -12.345 billion). Exports went up 7.3 percent, lower than a 11.1 percent gain in June, driven by sales to China and major Asian markets. Imports rose at a slower 5.5 percent, after a 10.4 percent increase in June. Comparing the three-month period ending in July 2017 with the preceding three months, exports decreased 1.8 percent and imports fell 1 percent.

Year-on-year, exports increased 7.3 percent to HKD 326.6 billion in July of 2017, after an increase of 11.1 percent in the previous month. Exports to Asia as a whole went up by 8.8 percent, mainly to Philippines (26.7 percent); Taiwan (23.5 percent); Thailand (12.7 percent); Japan (9 percent); China (8.8 percent) and Singapore (7.8 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, an increase was registered in exports to Germany (6.7 percent) while declines were seen to the United Kingdom (-4.9 percent) and the United States (-0.6 percent).

By commodity, exports advanced for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (13.6%); professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (28.4%) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (6.0%). However, sales of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 12.3 percent.

Imports rose 5.5 percent to HKD 356.2 billion in July of 2017, after a 10.4 percent gain in the preceding month. Increases were recorded from Philippines (28.9 percent); Malaysia (25.4 percent); Korea (23.6 percent); Singapore (18.1 percent) and China (4 percent) while purchases declined from India (-21.2 percent); Thailand (-4.8 percent) and Japan (-4.4 percent).

By commodity, imports grew for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (10.3%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (9.0%) and professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (16.6%). In contrast, a decrease was registered in imports of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-5.3%).

For the first seven months of 2017 as a whole, exports rose 8.5 percent over the same period in 2016 and imports surged 8.7 percent.


Tuesday August 22 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Picks Up to 2% in July
Census and Statistics Department |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased 2 percent year-on-year in July of 2017, above 1.9 percent in the previous month. Prices advanced for transport and recovered for clothing and footwear while inflation was steady for housing and food.

Year-on-year, prices rose faster for transport (3 percent vs 2.5 percent in June); information and communication (0.5 percent vs 0.4 percent); health (4.7 percent vs 4 percent) and recovered for clothing and footwear (0.9 percent vs -1.4 percent). In addition, cost fell less for electricity, gas and water (-0.7 percent vs -0.9 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-0.2 percent vs -0.4 percent).

Conversely, inflation slowed for miscellaneous goods (0.5 percent vs 1.5 percent) and miscellaneous services (1.4 percent vs 1.9 percent) and was stable for housing (2.7 percent); food (2.5 percent) and education (2.8 percent).

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures was also 2.0 percent, slightly higher than 1.9 percent in June, manly due to the increases in the prices of women's outerclothing.


Thursday August 17 2017
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at 3.1% in July
Statistics of Hong Kong | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 3.1 percent in the three months to July of 2017, unchanged from the previous period. It remains the lowest jobless rate since February of 2014. The underemployment rate fell to 1.1 percent, the lowest level in almost two decades.

Compared to the three months to June, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 3,000 to 128,200 and the number of underemployed decreased by 1,200 to 44,300.

Although jobless rates for major economic sectors saw little change from the preceding three-month period, the unemployment rates of many sectors were lower than a year ago, namely the tourism-related segment (retail, accomodation and food services), which fell to 4.6 percent, reaching the lowest since the end 2015.

Total employment rose by around 11,400 to 3.8335 million and the labour force also went up to 3,9617 million from 3.9472 million in April-June 2017.

On the short-term outlook, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare said "In the near term, the overall labour market conditions are expected to remain tight alongside a generally positive hiring sentiment. Yet, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor the developments in the external environment and their potential impacts on the local labour market in the months ahead".


Friday August 11 2017
Hong Kong Economy Grows 3.8% in Q2
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Hong Kong economy advanced 3.8 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017, following a 4.3 percent expansion in the previous period. Growth was driven by private consumption and fixed investment while net external demand contributed negatively.

The positive contribution to GDP came from private consumption (3.7 percentage points), fixed investment (1.8 percentage points) and government spending (0.3 percentage points). In contrast, net trade subtracted 1.8 percentage points from the growth, and changes in inventories subtracted 0.3 percentage points.

Year-on-year, private consumption grew 5.3 percent (3.9 percent in Q1); gross fixed capital formation rose 8 percent (5.9 percent in Q1); and public spending increased 3.2 percent (3.1 percent in Q1). Meanwhile, exports of goods went up 5.6 percent (9.3 percent in Q1) and imports jumped 6.2 percent (10 percent in Q1). Exports of services advanced 2.3 percent (2.8 percent in Q1) and imports increased at a faster 3.5 percent (0.9 percent in Q1). 

On a quarterly basis, the GDP advanced 1 percent, following a 0.7 percent expansion in the previous period. Private consumption grew 2 percent (0.5 percent in Q1) and government spending went up 1.1 percent (0.6 percent in Q1). Meanwhile, exports of goods fell 0.8 percent (1.6 percent in Q1) and imports declined 0.2 percent (0.3 percent in Q1). Exports of services shrank 1.3 percent (0.6 percent in Q1) while imports rose 1.6 percent (0.5 percent in Q1). 

The robust quarterly performance prompted Hong Kong's statistics office to revise its full-year GDP forecast from a range of 2-3 per cent to 3-4 per cent in 2017.




Thursday July 27 2017
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens Slightly In June
Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade deficit increased to HKD 48.278 billion in June of 2017 from a HKD 45.6 billion gap a year earlier. Exports went up 11.1 percent, higher than a 4 percent gain in May, boosted by sales to China and other major Asian markets. Imports rose at a slower 10.4 percent, after a 6.6 percent increase in May. Considering the second quarter of the year, sales expanded 1.1 percent over the previous period while imports declined 1.4 percent.

Exports reached HKD 329.4 billion, boosted by rises in shipments of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (15.1 percent), office machines and automatic data processing machines (18.8 percent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares) (21.4 percent). However, exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 4.4 percent. Sales to Asia as a whole grew by 14.1 percent: India (38 percent), Taiwan (35 percent), Singapore (18.6 percent), Thailand (15.6 percent), Japan (13.4 percent), Philippines (12.5 percent) and China (12.2 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, increases were also registered in exports to the United Kingdom (24.8 percent) and the US (0.6 percent) while a fall was seen for Germany (-4.1 percent).

Imports rose to HKD 377.7 billion, due to purchases of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (16.4 percent), office machines and automatic data processing machines (15.5 percent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares) (16.1 percent). However, a decrease was registered in telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-1.7 percent). Imports rose mainly from Korea (22.4 percent), Malaysia (20.7 percent), Taiwan (20.7 percent), the Philippines (18.8 percent), Singapore (13 percent) and China (6.8 percent) but fell from Japan (-4 percent).

For the first half of 2017 as a whole, exports rose by 8.8 percent over the same period in 2016 and imports increased at a faster 9.4 percent.


Thursday July 20 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Slows To 3-Month Low
Census and Statistics Department |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Kong increased 1.9 percent year-on-year in June of 2017, easing from a 2 percent rise in the previous two months. It is the lowest inflation rate since March, mainly led by prices of miscellaneous goods, housing, transport, clothing & footwear and alcoholic beverages & tobacco.

Year-on-year, prices slowed for miscellaneous goods (1.5 percent vs 2 percent in May), transport (2.5 percent vs 2.7 percent) and were unchanged for housing (2.7 percent) and miscellaneous services (1.9 percent). In addition, cost fell for electricity, gas and water (-0.9 percent, the same pace as in May); clothing and footwear (-1.4 percent vs -1.2 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-0.4 percent vs 0.3 percent).

In contrast, inflation accelerated for food (2.5 percent vs 2.4 percent), education (2.8 percent vs 2.6 percent), health (4 percent vs 3.4 percent) and information and communication (0.4 percent vs 0.2 percent).

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures was also 1.9 percent, compared to a 2 percent rise in May.