Hong Kong’s total exports and imports of goods both fell in July, as trade and political tensions and softening global economic growth continued to weigh on the territory’s economy, the latest trade data showed.
The value of total exports of goods dropped 5.7% from a year earlier to HKD338.6 billion (about US$43.16 billion), after falling 9.0% year-on-year in June, according to the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong.
The value of total imports of goods declined 8.7% from a year earlier to HKD370.8 billion in July, after a year-on-year decline of 7.5% in June, resulting in a trade deficit of HKD32.2 billion.
For the first seven months of 2019, the value of total exports of goods dropped by 3.9% year-on-year, while imports of goods weakened by 5.1%. Trade deficit reached HKD276.8 billion in the January-July period.
A government spokesperson said the value of merchandise exports fell further in July because trade was affected by softening global economic growth and the U.S.-mainland trade tensions. Hong Kong has also been rocked by protests since March that have escalated into violent clashes with the police in June.
These unfavorable developments also continued to pose a drag on manufacturing and trading activities in many Asian economies, the spokesperson said. Against this background, merchandise exports to many major markets registered declines of varying degrees in July.
Total exports to Asia went down by 5.5% year-on-year. Decreases were registered in the values of total exports in particular to Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand and India. On the other hand, increases were recorded in the values of total exports to the Philippines and Taiwan.
Decreases were also registered in the values of total exports to Germany and the USA, while an increase was registered in the value of total exports to the United Kingdom.
The spokesman said that looking forward, Hong Kong’s near-term export performance should remain sluggish or may even weaken further in the face of the difficult external and domestic environment and the further escalation of U.S.-mainland trade tensions in September.