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Steady Export Recovery amid Continuous Growth of Asian 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 April increased by 7.1% over a year earlier to HK$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 HK$302.1 billion in April 2017, whereas the value of domestic exports decreased by 2.1% to HK$3.3 billion. 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.

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 Mainland China also increased by 4.1%. Decreases were recorded in the values of total exports to Singapore (-8.8%) and Korea (-2.7%). Yet, 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%). An increase was registered in the value of total exports to Germany (+6.5%).

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. Looking ahead, the gradual improvement in global economic conditions should continue to support Hong Kong's export performance.

Corporate Failures in Major Export Markets

Market2017
Q1
Change in 2017 Q1 over
same period last year (%)
201620152014
US5,715-8.224,02724,63626,849
UK3,5294.814,80812,86114,155
Japan2,062-2.98,2148,5179,180
*Germany3,244-7.821,51823,12324,085

*Figures of March 2017 are not included for Germany.

Corporate failure cases in the US and Japan recorded a decrease of 8.2% and 2.9% respectively in the first quarter when compared to the same period in 2016. However, corporate failure cases of the UK rose by 4.8%. A year-on-year decrease of 7.8% was recorded for Germany in January to February.

Payment Difficulty Cases in Major Markets (March 2017 to May 2017)

MarketNumber of casesChange over same period last year (%)Estimated liability ($mn)Change over same period last year (%)
US14+16.79.25+99.5
UK2-60.00.26-77.8
Mainland China1-75.00.44-79.1

For the HKECIC, the situation of payment difficulty varied among different markets in the period from March to May 2017. The number of payment difficulty cases on US buyers increased by 16.7% over a year earlier to 14 cases, with an estimated liability surging by 99.5% to HK$9.25 million. Two payment difficulty cases were reported on UK buyers while one case on Chinese buyers, with estimated liability slumped by 77.8% and 79.1% respectively.

A gradual recovery of Hong Kong export seems to have set in this year. 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. Exporters are advised to continue monitoring their risks prudently. To support SMEs, the HKECIC’s “Small Business Policy” permanently provides waiver of HK$1,000 annual policy fee and premium discount of 20% for policyholders 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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