External merchandise trade statistics for November 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (December 27) the external merchandise trade statistics for November 2012.  In November 2012, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and imports of goods both showed year-on-year increases, at 10.5% and 9.0% respectively.

     In November 2012, the value of total exports of goods (comprising re-exports and domestic exports) increased by 10.5% over a year earlier to $307.8 billion, after a year-on-year decrease of 2.8% in October 2012.  Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 10.7% to $302.6 billion in November 2012, whereas the value of domestic exports decreased by 0.6% to $5.1 billion.  Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 9.0% over a year earlier to $351.8 billion in November 2012, after a year-on-year increase of 3.3% in October 2012.  A visible trade deficit of $44.1 billion, equivalent to 12.5% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in November 2012.

     For the first eleven months of 2012 as a whole, the value of total exports of goods rose by 1.9% over the same period in 2011.  Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 2.2%, whereas the value of domestic exports decreased by 11.7%.  Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 3.2%.  A visible trade deficit of $429.9 billion, equivalent to 12.1% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in the first eleven months of 2012.

     Comparing the three-month period ending November 2012 with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods rose by 6.7%.  Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 6.9%, whereas the value of domestic exports went down by 0.8%.  Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods increased by 7.4%.

Analysis by country/territory

     Comparing November 2012 with November 2011, total exports to Asia as a whole grew by 14.6%.  In this region, strong increases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations, in particular Thailand (+48.7%), the Philippines (+32.4%), the mainland of China (the Mainland) (+19.0%), Japan (+13.3%) and Singapore (+10.6%).  On the other hand, decreases were recorded in the values of total exports to India (-17.6%), Taiwan (-16.5%) and Vietnam (-9.6%).

     Apart from destinations in Asia, increases were also registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular the United Kingdom (+1.2%) and the USA (+0.3%).  Concurrently, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports to Germany (-7.8%).

     Over the same period of comparison, significant increases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular Thailand (+56.2%), the Mainland (+20.9%) and India (+6.2%).  Concurrently, decreases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular the USA (-22.9%), Singapore (-7.2%) and Japan (-5.3%).

     For the first eleven months of 2012 as a whole, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations, in particular Vietnam (+11.0%), Japan (+6.2%), the Mainland (+5.3%) and the USA (+1.5%).  However, year-on-year decreases were registered in the values of total exports to India (-18.2%), Germany (-14.4%), Taiwan (-8.6%) and the United Kingdom (-7.8%).

     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular the Mainland (+7.4%), Taiwan (+1.5%) and Korea (+1.2%).  On the other hand, year-on-year decreases were registered in the values of imports from Thailand (-8.2%), Malaysia (-5.2%) and India (-4.8%).

Analysis by major commodity

     Comparing November 2012 with November 2011, increases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $18.4 billion or 85.0%), "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $14.4 billion or 32.8%) and "miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods)" (by $2.3 billion or 9.4%).  

     Over the same period of comparison, increases were registered in the values of imports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $15.3 billion or 66.1%), "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $14.7 billion or 31.8%), and "miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods)" (by $2.6 billion or 10.5%).

     For the first eleven months of 2012 as a whole, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $49.5 billion or 9.5%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $44.5 billion or 12.9%) and "electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof" (by $10.2 billion or 1.2%).

     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $83.0 billion or 17.2%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $46.1 billion or 14.2%), "professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus" (by $8.4 billion or 11.7%) and "photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks" (by $8.4 billion or 8.1%).

Commentary

     A Government spokesman noted that merchandise exports rebounded notably in value terms in November over a year earlier, after a modest fall-back in October.  The performance of merchandise exports has been fluctuating of late, a continued manifestation of an unsteady external trading environment.

     The spokesman commented further that looking ahead, the fragile fundamentals of the advanced economies will continue to weigh on their final demand in the near term.  Although the Mainland's recent faster growth momentum should render some support to regional trade down the road, our export outlook remains challenging.  We need to stay vigilant.

Further information

     Table 1 at the annex presents the analysis of external merchandise trade statistics for November 2012.  Table 2 presents the original monthly trade statistics from January 2009 to November 2012, and Table 3 gives the seasonally adjusted series for the same period.

     The values of total exports of goods to ten main destinations for November 2012 are shown in Table 4, whereas the values of imports of goods from ten main suppliers are given in Table 5.

     Table 6 and 7 show the values of total exports and imports of ten principal commodity divisions for November 2012.

     All the merchandise trade statistics described here are measured at current prices and no account has been taken of changes in prices between the periods of comparison.  A separate analysis of the volume and price movements of external merchandise trade for November 2012 will be released in mid-January 2013.

     The November 2012 issue of "Hong Kong External Merchandise Trade" contains detailed analysis on the performance of Hong Kong's external merchandise trade in November 2012.  Detailed merchandise trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country/territory are published in the November 2012 issue of "Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Statistics".  The two publications will be available in mid-January 2013.  Users can download them free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp230.jsp).

     Enquiries on merchandise trade statistics may be directed to Trade Analysis Section (1) of the C&SD (Tel.: 2582 5042).

Ends/Thursday, December 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30

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