External merchandise trade statistics for August 2017
External merchandise trade statistics for August 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (September 26) the external merchandise trade statistics for August 2017. In August 2017, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year increases, at 7.4% and 7.7% respectively.
      
     In August 2017, the value of total exports of goods (comprising re-exports and domestic exports) increased by 7.4% over a year earlier to $332.7 billion, after a year-on-year increase of 7.3% in July 2017. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 7.6% to $328.8 billion in August 2017, whereas the value of domestic exports decreased by 2.7% to $3.9 billion. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 7.7% over a year earlier to $368.2 billion in August 2017, after a year-on-year increase of 5.5% in July 2017. A visible trade deficit of $35.5 billion, equivalent to 9.6% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in August 2017.
      
     For the first eight months of 2017 as a whole, the value of total exports of goods rose by 8.4% over the same period in 2016. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 8.5%, while the value of domestic exports increased by 0.7%. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 8.6%. A visible trade deficit of $293.1 billion, equivalent to 10.7% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in the first eight months of 2017.
      
     Comparing the three-month period ending August 2017 with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods increased by 0.3%. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 0.3%, whereas the value of domestic exports went down by 1.8%. Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods increased by 2.7%.
      
Analysis by country/territory
      
     Comparing August 2017 with August 2016, total exports to Asia as a whole grew by 10.0%. In this region, increases were registered in the values of total exports to most major destinations, in particular Taiwan (+23.6%), Thailand (+22.1%), the Philippines (+15.9%), Japan (+11.4%), the mainland of China (the Mainland) (+10.8%) and Vietnam (+5.7%).  On the other hand, a decrease was recorded in the value of total exports to Korea (-8.3%).
      
     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 (-18.2%) and the USA (-5.5%). 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 the Philippines (+35.7%), Korea (+30.9%), Singapore (+30.2%), Malaysia (+15.4%) and Thailand (+12.9%). The value of imports from the Mainland also increased by 3.9%.  Concurrently, a decrease was registered in the value of imports from India (-7.8%).
      
     For the first eight 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 (+35.4%), Taiwan (+31.7%), the Netherlands (+16.2%), Vietnam (+10.7%), the Mainland (+9.5%) and Japan (+7.7%).
      
     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports from most major suppliers, in particular Korea (+32.1%), the Philippines (+30.6%), India (+19.6%), Singapore (+15.6%) and Malaysia (+13.2%).  The value of imports from the Mainland also increased by 5.8%.
      
Analysis by major commodity
      
     Comparing August 2017 with August 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 $12.1 billion or 11.0%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $5.7 billion or 18.9%) and "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $1.9 billion or 3.0%). However, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $1.5 billion or -13.1%).
      
     Over the same period of comparison, 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 $16.0 billion or 13.1%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $4.1 billion or 15.4%) and "petroleum, petroleum products and related materials" (by $2.2 billion or 62.6%). However, a decrease was registered in the value of imports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $0.7 billion or -7.6%).
      
     For the first eight 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 $105.4 billion or 13.8%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $24.0 billion or 10.6%) and "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $19.7 billion or 4.3%). However, a year-on-year decrease was registered in the value of total exports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $8.1 billion or -9.9%).
      
     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year 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 $132.9 billion or 15.4%), "miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares)" (by $16.0 billion or 10.8%) and "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $15.9 billion or 7.9%). However, a year-on-year decrease was registered in the value of imports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $4.5 billion or -6.7%).
      
Commentary
      
     A Government spokesman noted that merchandise exports grew notably further in August over a year earlier, as global demand continued to revive, thereby keeping regional trade flows vibrant. Exports to most major Asian markets registered notable growth and continued to be the key growth engine.
      
     The spokesman commented further that looking ahead, the improving global economy will likely bring further support to Asia's as well as Hong Kong's exports in the near term. However, uncertainties in the trading environment are still salient, as the global monetary environment could be complicated by US monetary policy normalisation and possible policy actions by other major central banks in the period ahead. Moreover, the possible rise in protectionist sentiment, Brexit-related negotiations and elevated geopolitical tensions in various regions are also sources of concern. 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 August 2017. Table 2 presents the original monthly trade statistics from January 2014 to August 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 August 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 August 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 August 2017 will be released in mid-October 2017.
      
     The August 2017 issue of "Hong Kong External Merchandise Trade" contains detailed analysis on the performance of Hong Kong's external merchandise trade in August 2017. Detailed merchandise trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country/territory are published in the August 2017 issue of "Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Statistics". The two publications will be available in mid-October 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/Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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