External merchandise trade statistics for April 2017
External merchandise trade statistics for April 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (May 25) the external merchandise trade statistics for April 2017. In April 2017, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year increases, at 7.1% and 7.3% respectively.

     In April 2017, the value of total exports of goods (comprising re-exports and domestic exports) increased by 7.1% over a year earlier to $305.4 billion, after a year-on-year increase of 16.9% in March 2017. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 7.2% to $302.1 billion in April 2017, whereas the value of domestic exports decreased by 2.1% to $3.3 billion. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 7.3% over a year earlier to $339.5 billion in April 2017, after a year-on-year increase of 13.0% in March 2017. A visible trade deficit of $34.1 billion, equivalent to 10.1% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in April 2017.

     For the first four months of 2017 as a whole, the value of total exports of goods rose by 9.4% over the same period in 2016. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 9.5%, while the value of domestic exports increased by 3.1%. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 9.8%. A visible trade deficit of $144.9 billion, equivalent to 11.1% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in the first four months of 2017.

     Comparing the three-month period ending April 2017 with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods increased by 2.3%. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 2.3%, whereas the value of domestic exports went down by 1.5%. Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods increased by 2.2%.

Analysis by country/territory

     Comparing April 2017 with April 2016, total exports to Asia as a whole grew by 9.4%. In this region, increases were registered in the values of total exports to most major destinations, in particular India (+96.9%), Taiwan (+30.0%), Vietnam (+18.5%), Thailand (+17.8%), Malaysia (+14.2%) and Japan (+9.8%). The value of total exports to the mainland of China (the Mainland) also increased by 4.1%. On the other hand, decreases were recorded in the values of total exports to Singapore (-8.8%) and Korea (-2.7%).

     Apart from destinations in Asia, decreases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular the United Kingdom (-12.6%) and the USA (-1.9%). Concurrently, an increase was registered in the value of total exports to Germany (+6.5%).

     Over the same period of comparison, increases were registered in the values of imports from most major suppliers, in particular Korea (+35.3%), India (+35.3%), the Philippines (+30.0%), Singapore (+14.5%) and Malaysia (+12.3%). The value of imports from the Mainland also increased by 4.5%.

     For the first four months of 2017 as a whole, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports to most major destinations, in particular India (+54.9%), Taiwan (+40.6%), the Netherlands (+21.9%), Vietnam (+14.6%), the Mainland (+10.3%) and Korea (+9.9%). However, a year-on-year decrease was registered in the value of total exports to Singapore (-4.2%).

     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports from most major suppliers, in particular Korea (+43.3%), the Philippines (+34.8%), India (+30.5%), Taiwan (+15.5%) and Singapore (+13.3%). The value of imports from the Mainland also increased by 7.5%.

Analysis by major commodity

     Comparing April 2017 with April 2016, increases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof" (by $9.7 billion or 10.1%), "non-metallic mineral manufactures" (by $5.7 billion or 35.6%) and "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $3.2 billion or 5.8%). However, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports of "textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products" (by $1.0 billion or -15.0%).

     Over the same period of comparison, increases were registered in the values of imports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof" (by $13.9 billion or 13.2%), "miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares)" (by $4.6 billion or 24.8%) and "petroleum, petroleum products and related materials" (by $3.5 billion or 93.8%). However, a decrease was registered in the value of imports of "photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks" (by $0.7 billion or -9.0%).

     For the first four months of 2017 as a whole, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular "electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof" (by $55.8 billion or 16.0%), "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $17.3 billion or 8.1%) and "non-metallic mineral manufactures" (by $9.7 billion or 15.9%). However, a year-on-year decrease was registered in the value of total exports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $3.2 billion or -9.0%).

     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports of most principal commodity divisions, in particular "electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof" (by $74.3 billion or 18.9%), "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $16.2 billion or 7.9%) and "petroleum, petroleum products and related materials" (by $9.1 billion or 61.0%).

Commentary

     A Government spokesman noted that merchandise exports grew visibly in April, propelled mainly by the sturdy growth in exports to many Asian markets amid an improving global economy.

     The spokesman commented further that looking ahead, the gradual improvement in global economic conditions should continue to support Hong Kong's export performance. However, the external environment is still subject to various uncertainties, especially those stemming from the US interest rate normalisation, Brexit and other policy and political developments in the US and Europe, possible rise of protectionist sentiment and elevated geopolitical tensions in various regions. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Further information

     Table 1 at the annex presents the analysis of external merchandise trade statistics for April 2017. Table 2 presents the original monthly trade statistics from January 2014 to April 2017, and Table 3 gives the seasonally adjusted series for the same period.

     The values of total exports of goods to 10 main destinations for April 2017 are shown in Table 4, whereas the values of imports of goods from 10 main suppliers are given in Table 5.

     Tables 6 and 7 show the values of total exports and imports of 10 principal commodity divisions for April 2017.

     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 April 2017 will be released in mid-June 2017.

     The April 2017 issue of "Hong Kong External Merchandise Trade" contains detailed analysis on the performance of Hong Kong's external merchandise trade in April 2017. Detailed merchandise trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country/territory are published in the April 2017 issue of "Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Statistics". The two publications will be available in mid-June 2017. 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 the Trade Analysis Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2582 5042).
 
Ends/Thursday, May 25, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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