Thursday September 20 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Edges Down to 2.3% in August
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Inflation rate in Hong Kong declined to 2.3 percent in August of 2018 from 2.4 percent in each of the previous two months. Prices slowed mainly for food, clothing & footwear, transport and utilities. The government expects inflationary pressures to rise in the next months, due to a gradual increase in global inflation and residential rents. However, the inflation rate should remain within a moderate range for 2018 as a whole.

Year-on-year, prices rose less for food (3.5 percent vs 3.6 percent in July); clothing & footwear (1.9 percent vs 2.4 percent); transport (1.4 percent vs 2.2 percent); electricity, gas, water (3.4 percent vs 4.2 percent) and miscellaneous services (1.4 percent vs 1.8 percent). Contrarily, prices picked up for housing (2.3 percent vs 2.2 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were flat in August, after increasing 0.4 percent in the previous month.

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; etc. -, edged down to 2.6 percent (from 2.7 percent in July), due to slowing prices for package tours and decreasing transport fares. 

The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.




Tuesday September 18 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Unchanged at 20-Year Low of 2.8%
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong was unchanged at a 20-year low of 2.8 percent in the three months to August 2018. Also, the underemployment rate was steady at 1.1 percent, the same as in the previous period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed increased by 2.7 thousand from the May-July period to 117.4 thousand in the three months to August and the number of underemployed went up by around 1.4 thousand to 45.5 thousand.

Meanwhile, the number of employed rose by 9.7 thousand from the previous three-month period to 3.9 million, mainly due to improvements in information & communication, accomodation services and retail sectors. In addition, the labour force participation rate edged up to 61.4 percent.

Looking ahead, "While labour market conditions will likely remain favourable in the near term, the Government will stay vigilant as to how developments in the external environment will affect the local labour market going forward." the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.




Monday August 27 2018
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens Sharply in July
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade gap increased 59.1 percent year-on-year to HKD 47.1 billion in July of 2018 from HKD 29.6 billion in the same month a year earlier. Imports rose 14 percent to HKD 406.2 billion from HKD 356.2 billion, while exports advanced at a softer 10 percent to HKD 359.1 billion from HKD 326.6 billion. A government spokesman commented that, looking ahead, downside risks in the external trading environment have increased markedly in recent months. While the impacts of the US-China trade conflicts on Hong Kong's export performance appeared to be limited so far, they could become more apparent later this year.

Year-on-year, imports went up 14 percent to HKD 406.2 billion from a 4.4 percent gain in the previous month. Imports were driven by higher purchases of electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances & electrical parts thereof (18 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (26.3 percent) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (23.1 percent), namely jewelry, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares. In contrast, purchases fell for telecommunications & sound recording & reproducing apparatus & equipment (-0.1 percent).

Purchases advanced mainly from Malaysia (+111.5 percent), South Korea (+26.4 percent), the USA (+15.1 percent), China (+10.2 percent), Japan (+10.1 percent), India (+9.7 percent) and Philippines (+9.1 percent).

Exports rose 10 percent to HKD 359.1 billion, following a 3.3 increase in June. Sales to Asia as a whole surged 10.6 percent, in particular to Malaysia (+44 percent), Vietnam (+23.3 percent), China (+12.8 percent), India (+11.2 percent) and South Korea (+6.8 percent). Meanwhile, decreases were recorded in exports to Taiwan (-15.6 percent) and Japan (-7.5 percent).

By commodity, shipments increased for electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances & electrical parts thereof (18.4 percent); office machines & automatic data processing machines (16.3 percent) and power generating machinery & equipment (39.4 percent). On the other hand, exports dropped for articles of apparel & clothing accessories (-1.8 percent).

Considering the first seven months of the year, exports went up 9.4 percent year-on-year and imports jumped 11.1 percent, recording a trade deficit of HKD 321.5 billion.




Tuesday August 21 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Steady at 2.4% in July
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Inflation rate in Hong Kong came in at 2.4 percent in July of 2018, the same as in the previous month. Prices slowed mainly for food while they continued to rise for housing, miscellaneous services and transport.

Year-on-year, prices rose less for food (3.6 percent vs 3.7 percent in June), including food excluding meals bought away from home (4.8 percent vs 5.2 percent) and meals bought away from home (2.9 percent vs 3.0 percent); and clothing & footwear (2.4 percent vs 3.6 percent). On the other hand, cost increased faster for housing (2.2 percent vs 2.1 percent); miscellaneous services (1.8 percent vs 1.7 percent); transport (2.2 percent vs 2.0 percent) and electricity, gas, water (4.2 percent vs 3.8 percent).

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

Underlying consumer inflation, which excludes the effects of one-off government relief measures also remained virtually unchanged at 2.7 percent as compared to June 2018.

A Government spokesman commented that underlying inflation pressure held largely steady in July, with the annual rate of change in the underlying Composite CPI staying unchanged at 2.7%. In view of the edging up of global inflation and continued feed-through of earlier rises in fresh-letting residential rentals, local underlying consumer price inflation in the months ahead may remain somewhat higher than in the first half of 2018, when it averaged 2.4%. Yet, inflation should stay within a moderate range for 2018 as a whole. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.



Friday August 17 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Holds Steady at 2.8%
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong was unchanged at a 20-year low of 2.8 percent in the three months to July 2018. The underemployment rate, however, edged up to 1.1 percent from 1 percent in the April-June period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed increased by 2.3 thousand from the April-June period to 114.7 thousand in the three months to July, and the number of underemployed went up by around 2.7 thousand to 44.1 thousand.

Meanwhile, the number of employed rose by 2.9 thousand from the previous three-month period to 3.87 million. The labour force participation rate was unchanged at 61.2 percent.

Looking ahead, "The labour market should remain tight in the near term riding on the solid growth momentum of the local economy. Nevertheless, as external uncertainties have increased markedly of late, with possible repercussions for export outlook, local economic sentiment and asset markets, we will stay vigilant to their potential impact on the local labour market." the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.


Friday August 10 2018
Hong Kong GDP Growth Slows to 3.5% YoY in Q2
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

The Hong Kong economy advanced 3.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, easing from a downwardly revised 4.6 percent expansion in the previous period.

In the second quarter, private consumption growth slowed to 6.1 percent (from 8.8 percent in Q1); as well as gross fixed capital formation (0.4 percent from 4.2 percent). Within fixed investment, expenditure on machinery & equipment increased by 4.7 percent (easing from 6.1 percent in Q1) and expenditure on building & construction fell by 3 percent, as against a 1.9 percent gain in the first quarter. Additionally, exports of goods rose softer (4.6 percent from 5.2 percent), as well as imports (6.3 percent from 6.9 percent). Exports of services increased at slower 6.1 percent (from 7.9 percent) and imports also slowed to 0.4 percent (from 4.2 percent). Contrarily, government spending expanded at a faster pace (4.4 percent from 3.9 percent in Q1). 

On a quarterly basis, the GDP shrank 0.2 percent, following a downwardly revised 2.1 percent rise in the prior quarter. It was the first quarterly contraction since the first quarter of 2016, as private consumption declined by 0.6 percent (from 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018). In addition, international trade contributed negatively to GDP growth, as exports of goods and services dropped in Q2 (-0.4 percent and -3.2 percent from 3.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively); as well as imports of goods and services, which fell 0.1 percent and 2.1 percent in Q2 (from 2.3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively). Contrarily, government spending went up 1.6 percent, from 1.2 percent in the previous quarter. 




Monday July 23 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate at 3-Month High
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Inflation Rate in Hong Kong went up to 2.4 percent in June of 2018 from a 2.1 percent gain in May. It was the highest inflation since March, mainly due to higher prices for private housing rentals, salt-water fish and package tours. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures - such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants; etc. -, the inflation was 2.7 percent, also higher than 2.4 percent in May.

Year-on-year, prices advanced faster for housing (2.1 percent from 2 percent in May); food (5.2 percent from 4.7 percent); transport (2 percent from 1.2 percent); clothing & footwear (3.6 percent from 1.4 percent); electricity, gas & water supply (3.8 percent from 3.4 percent) and alcoholic beverages & tobacco (1.4 percent from 0.2 percent) and fell slightly less for educational services (-3.7 percent from -3.8 percent).

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, consumer prices edged up 0.3 percent in June, after being unchanged in the previous month.

A Government spokesman commented further that, looking forward, inflationary pressure is expected to intensify slightly in the near term compared to the situation in the first half of the year, reflecting higher global inflation and continued feed-through of earlier rises in fresh-letting residential rentals. Nonetheless, inflation should stay within a moderate range for 2018 as a whole. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.


Thursday July 19 2018
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Unchanged at 2.8%
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong was unchanged at 2.8 percent in the three months to June of 2018, the same as in the previous period. It remained the lowest rate since 1998.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons edged up by 100 to 112,400 in April - June 2018 when compared with the previous period, and the number of underemployed increased by around 400 to 41,400. The unemployment situation continued to improve for most of the main service sectors, particularly in the trade and tourism-related industries such as foreign trade, retail trade and accommodation services.

Meantime, total employment in April – June of 2018 went up by 4,900 persons to 3,869,800 and the labour force rose by around 5,000 to 3,982,200 persons.

Looking ahead, "In the near term, the overall labour market is expected to remain tight on the back of a vibrant local economy. Yet, we will stay vigilant to the evolving external uncertainties and monitor their potential impact on the local labour market closely" the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said.


Tuesday June 26 2018
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens in May
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong l Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong trade gap widened 21.3 percent year-on-year to HKD 43.3 billion in May of 2018 from HKD 35.6 billion in the same month a year earlier. Imports increased 16.5 percent to HKD 394.6 billion, driven by electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (25.3 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (38.5 percent) and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (10.0 percent). Meantime, exports rose 15.9 percent to HKD 351.4 billion, boosted by electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (22.8 percent) and office machines and automatic data processing machines (32.7 percent).

Year-on-year, imports edged up 16.5 percent to HKD 394.6 billion from a 11.1 percent gain in the previous month. Imports were driven by higher purchases of  electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (25.3 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (38.5 percent) and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (10.0 percent). In contrast, purchases fell for miscellaneous manufactured articles (-5.5 percent), namely jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares.

Purchases advanced mainly from: Malaysia (+69.7 percent), Korea (+44.1 percent), Taiwan (+22.3 percent), Singapore (+20.3 percent), Philippines (+18.8 percent) and China (+18.4 percent).

Exports rose 15.9 percent to HKD 351.4 billion, following a 8.1 increase in April. Sales to Asia as a whole surged 15.8 percent, in particular to Singapore (+43.9 percent), Malaysia (+43.6 percent), Philippines (+25.5 percent), China (+19.2 percent), Thailand (+18.6 percent) and Japan (+13.0 percent). Meanwhile, decreases were recorded in exports to India (-21.7 percent) and Taiwan (-1.9 percent).

By commodity, shipments increased for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (22.8 percent); office machines and automatic data processing machines (32.7 percent) and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (10.0 percent). On the other hand, exports dropped for non-metallic mineral manufactures (-13.2 percent).

Considering the first five months of 2018, the trade deficit widened to HKD 219.8 billion from HKD 180.5 billion in the same period of 2017, as exports went up 10.7 percent and imports advanced 11.9 percent. 


Thursday June 21 2018
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Picks Up to 2.1% in May
Census and Statistics Department | Gabriela Costa | gabriela.costa@tradingeconomics.com

Inflation Rate in Hong Kong went up to 2.1 percent in May of 2018 from 1.9 percent in April, mainly due to higher prices for package tours and private housing rentals. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures - such as tax cuts for lower income individuals; extra allowance for the elderly, child & disabled people; students' grants; etc. -, the inflation was 2.4 percent, also higher than 2.2 percent in April.

Year-on-year, prices advanced faster for housing (2 percent from 1.8 percent in April); food (4.7 percent from 3.5 percent); transport (1.2 percent from 0.5 percent) and clothing & footwear (1.4 percent from 0.9 percent). Also, inflation was steady for alcoholic beverages & tobacco (0.2 percent) and prices fell at the same pace as in April for educational services (-3.8 percent). Contrarily, cost slowed for electricity, gas & water supply (3.4 percent from 3.7 percent).

On a seasonally adjusted basis, consumer prices were unchanged, following a 0.1 percent drop in the previous month.

A Government spokesman said that, although consumer price inflation remained moderate in May, inflationary pressure will likely go up in the period ahead, in view of the robust economic conditions and continued feed-through of earlier rises in fresh-letting residential rentals. Nevertheless, inflation should stay within a moderate range for the year as a whole. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly the impact on the lower-income people.