External merchandise trade statistics for December 2017
External merchandise trade statistics for December 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 25) the external merchandise trade statistics for December 2017. In December 2017, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year increases, at 6.0% and 9.0% respectively.

     In December 2017, the value of total exports of goods (comprising re-exports and domestic exports) increased by 6.0% over a year earlier to $360.7 billion, after a year-on-year increase of 7.8% in November 2017. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 6.0% to $357.1 billion in December 2017, while the value of domestic exports increased by 0.1% to $3.6 billion. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 9.0% over a year earlier to $420.6 billion in December 2017, after a year-on-year increase of 8.6% in November 2017. A visible trade deficit of $59.9 billion, equivalent to 14.2% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in December 2017.

     For 2017 as a whole, the value of total exports of goods rose by 8.0% over 2016. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 8.1%, while the value of domestic exports increased by 1.4%. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 8.7%. A visible trade deficit of $481.1 billion, equivalent to 11.0% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in 2017.

     Comparing the fourth quarter of 2017 with the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods increased by 4.2%. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 4.2%, while the value of domestic exports went up by 1.3%. Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods increased by 4.9%.

Analysis by country/territory

     Comparing December 2017 with December 2016, total exports to Asia as a whole grew by 4.3%. In this region, increases were registered in the values of total exports to most major destinations, in particular India (+66.6%), the Philippines (+22.8%), Thailand (+19.8%), Japan (+10.8%) and Malaysia (+10.5%). The value of total exports to the mainland of China (the Mainland) also increased by 1.7%. On the other hand, decreases were recorded in the values of total exports to Taiwan (-10.1%) and Singapore (-9.1%).

     Apart from destinations in Asia, increases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular Germany (+28.7%) and the USA (+11.5%). Concurrently, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports to the United Kingdom (-3.3%).

     Over the same period of comparison, increases were registered in the values of imports from most major suppliers, in particular Malaysia (+60.7%), Taiwan (+30.3%), Korea (+17.6%), Thailand (+14.6%) and the USA (+9.8%). The value of imports from the Mainland also increased by 4.2%. Concurrently, a decrease was registered in the value of imports from Singapore (-5.7%).

     For 2017 as a whole, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports to most major destinations, in particular India (+35.9%), Taiwan (+19.9%), the Netherlands (+11.5%), Germany (+10.8%), Vietnam (+10.3%), Japan (+10.0%) and the Mainland (+8.4%).

     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports from most major suppliers, in particular Korea (+28.5%), the Philippines (+27.6%), Malaysia (+26.8%), India (+15.8%), Taiwan (+12.9%), Singapore (+10.1%), Thailand (+8.5%) and the Mainland (+5.9%).

Analysis by major commodity

     Comparing December 2017 with December 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 $8.1 billion or 6.8%), "non-metallic mineral manufactures" (by $7.2 billion or 50.7%) and "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $3.6 billion or 9.8%). However, a decrease was registered in the value of total exports of "telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment" (by $1.7 billion or -2.3%).

     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 $20.6 billion or 15.4%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $3.0 billion or 9.1%) and "petroleum, petroleum products and related materials" (by $1.9 billion or 28.3%). However, a decrease was registered in the value of imports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $0.3 billion or -3.8%).

     For 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 $151.5 billion or 12.3%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $39.0 billion or 10.7%) and "non-metallic mineral manufactures" (by $22.8 billion or 12.7%). However, a year-on-year decrease was registered in the value of total exports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $8.8 billion or -7.2%).

     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 $206.5 billion or 15.1%), "office machines and automatic data processing machines" (by $32.5 billion or 10.1%) and "miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares)" (by $22.9 billion or 10.0%). However, a year-on-year decrease was registered in the value of imports of "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" (by $5.7 billion or -5.6%).

Commentary

     A Government spokesman noted that merchandise exports recorded further notable year-on-year growth in December 2017 amid robust expansion in global demand. Exports to Asia as a whole continued to grow solidly, and those to the US and EU accelerated to show double-digit growth. For 2017 as a whole, the value of merchandise exports rose by 8.0%, marking the fastest annual growth since 2011.

     The spokesman commented further that, looking ahead, the brightened global economic outlook should continue to be supportive of Hong Kong's exports in the near term. The Government will continue to monitor closely the external uncertainties, including those related to developments in the global monetary environment and trade policies of the major economies.

Further information

     Table 1 at the annex presents the analysis of external merchandise trade statistics for December 2017. Table 2 presents the original monthly trade statistics from January 2014 to December 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 December 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 December 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 December 2017 will be released in mid-February 2018.

     The December 2017 issue of "Hong Kong External Merchandise Trade" contains detailed analysis on the performance of Hong Kong's external merchandise trade in December 2017. Detailed merchandise trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country/territory are published in the December 2017 issue of "Hong Kong Merchandise Trade Statistics". The two publications will be available in mid-February 2018. Users can download them free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp230.jsp).

     The C&SD reviews from time to time the statistics to be reported in press releases to facilitate more focused analysis. Following a recent review, domestic exports and re-exports will no longer be reported in this press release series as from the January 2018 issue. The analysis on total exports and imports will remain unchanged. The detailed domestic exports and re-exports can continue to be obtained free of charge from the website of the C&SD.

     Enquiries on merchandise trade statistics may be directed to the Trade Analysis Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2582 5042).
 
Ends/Thursday, January 25, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:30
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