Exports and imports plunge amid pandemic

Business | Kevin Xu 28 Apr 2020

Hong Kong's exports dived 9.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter and imports plunged 10 percent, and a government spokesman said Hong Kong's merchandise exports will remain under pressure in the near term amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exports in March decreased by 5.8 percent over a year earlier to HK$323.6 billion. Imports dropped by 11.1 percent over a year earlier to HK$358.4 billion in March. While exports to the mainland rebounded with the gradual resumption of economic activities there, exports to many other major markets, including the United States and the European Union, plunged further, the spokesman said.

Benjamin Chau Kai-leung, deputy executive director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council, earlier said the exporter confidence level in the first quarter had fallen to a record low since 2006.

The latest decline of the export index - at a reading of 16 - will affect export trade severely, Chau said. It is expected that the export value this year will fall more than the previous projection of a 2 percent decline.

Although retail sales around the world have fallen, Chau said he is confident that sales will rebound once the pandemic is over as mainland consumers will release their "oppressed" purchasing power.

He added that enterprises should consider moving production lines to outside the mainland once the pandemic is over.

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