Hong Kong’s external trade sees year-on-year increase in January 2024

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27th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of Hong Kong released the external merchandise trade statistics for January 2024. The report revealed that both the value of Hong Kong’s total exports and imports of goods experienced year-on-year increases, with exports rising by 33.6% and imports by 21.7%. However, it is important to note that trade flows in January and February often display significant volatilities due to the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year holidays.

In January 2024, the value of total exports of goods reached $388.7 billion, marking a substantial 33.6% increase compared to the previous year. This growth followed an 11.0% year-on-year increase in December 2023. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods rose by 21.7% to $385.1 billion in January 2024, following an 11.6% increase in December 2023. The month recorded a visible trade surplus of $3.6 billion, equivalent to 0.9% of the value of imports of goods.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, comparing the three-month period ending January 2024 with the preceding three months, the value of total exports of goods increased by 4.2%, while imports of goods rose by 2.3%.

Analyzing the trade statistics by country/territory, the report highlighted that total exports to Asia as a whole grew by 45.7% in January 2024 compared to the same month in 2023. Notably, exports to major destinations within Asia, including mainland China (the Mainland), India, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand, experienced significant increases ranging from 45.6% to 54.2%. Outside of Asia, notable increases in exports were recorded for France (38.7%) and the United States (11.5%). However, there was a decrease in total exports to the Netherlands (-45.7%).

Regarding imports, the report indicated that most major suppliers saw increases in the value of goods imported by Hong Kong in January 2024 compared to the previous year. Noteworthy increases were observed for Thailand, the United States, the Mainland, Vietnam, and Korea. However, imports from the Philippines experienced a decrease.

When comparing the three-month period ending January 2024 with the same period in 2023, year-on-year increases were seen in the values of total exports to destinations such as Thailand, India, Taiwan, the Mainland, and Vietnam. Conversely, there was a decrease in exports to the Netherlands. In terms of imports, year-on-year increases were registered for Vietnam, the United States, the Mainland, Korea, and Thailand, while imports from the Philippines declined.

The report also analysed trade statistics by major commodity. It revealed that significant increases in the value of total exports were observed for commodities such as “electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof” and “telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment.” Similar increases were noted in the value of imports for these commodities.

A government spokesperson commented on the figures, stating that the surge in the value of merchandise exports in January 2024 was largely due to a low base of comparison from the previous year, influenced by the timing of the Lunar New Year. To gain a more accurate understanding of the situation, it would be more meaningful to examine the combined figures for January and February. Notably, exports to mainland China soared in January, while exports to the European Union declined. The spokesperson also mentioned that slow global economic growth and geopolitical factors would continue to impact Hong Kong’s export performance in the near term, and the government would closely monitor the situation.