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Hong Kong’s Export Recovery Remains Uncertain while Mixed Performance across Major Markets

According to the external merchandise trade statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government, the value of total exports of goods in October 2016 decreased by 1.8% over a year earlier to HK$313.7 billion, after a year-on-year increase of 3.6% in September. Within this total, the value of re-exports decreased by 1.9% to HK$310.1 billion, whilst the value of domestic exports increased by 1.1% to HK$3.6 billion.

Total exports to Asia as a whole in July decreased by 0.9% over the same period in 2015. Decreases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations, in particular Thailand (-12.7%), Japan (-11.0%), Vietnam (-7.0%), India (-3.8%) and Korea (-3.4%). In contrast, increases were recorded in the values of total exports to Taiwan (+18.2%) and Singapore (+3.9%). Meanwhile, total exports to mainland China remained virtually unchanged.

A government spokesman noted that the value of merchandise reverted to a slight decline over a year earlier in October, after having registered growth in the preceding 2 months, with mixed performance across major markets. Looking ahead, Hong Kong's export outlook in the near term will still hinge on global demand conditions. The external trading environment is still subject to uncertainties, including those associated with US policy directions after the general election. Moreover, the US monetary policy normalisation, monetary policy divergence amongst major central banks, the unfolding Brexit event and heightened geopolitical tensions in various regions are also causes for concern.


Corporate Failures in Major Export Markets

Change in 2016 Q3 over
same period last year (%)

*Figures of September 2016 are not included for Germany.

Corporate failure cases in the US recorded a decrease of 11.7% in the third quarter when compared to the same period in 2015. However, corporate failure cases in the UK and Japan rose by 2.2% and 1.0%, respectively, and a year-on-year decrease of 9.9% was recorded for Germany in July and August.


Payment Difficulty Cases in Major Markets (September to November 2016)

MarketNumber of casesChange over same period last year (%)Estimated liability ($mn)Change over same period last year (%)
Mainland China3-40.018.64+1,191.2

For the ECIC, the situation of payment difficulty varied amongst different markets in the period from September to November 2016. The number of payment difficulty cases on US buyers fell by 30.8% over a year earlier, and estimated liability slumped by 77.6%. The number of payment difficulty on Chinese buyers decreased by 40.0% to three cases, yet the estimated liability surged to HK$18.64 million, which is nearly 12 times that of 2015. The number of payment difficulty on the UK buyers remained the same, but the estimated liability dropped by 55.2%.

In 2017, the Eurozone is facing a packed election calendar; uncertainties on monetary policies and trade are likely to persist. The recovery of Hong Kong’s exports remains to be seen. Exporters are advised to continue monitoring their risks prudently. To support SMEs, the ECIC’s “Small Business Policy” provides a permanent waiver of the HK$1,000 annual policy fee and a premium discount of 20% for policyholders so as to lessen their burden. For more information, please refer to the ECIC website www.hkecic.com.

Content provided by Picture: Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation
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