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Source: Hong Kong Government special administrative region

     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (October 27) the external merchandise trade statistics for September 2020. In September 2020, the values of Hong Kong’s total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year increases, at 9.1% and 3.4% respectively.     In September 2020, the value of total exports of goods increased by 9.1% over a year earlier to $379.3 billion, after a year-on-year decrease of 2.3% in August 2020. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods increased by 3.4% over a year earlier to $392.0 billion in September 2020, after a year-on-year decrease of 5.7% in August 2020. A visible trade deficit of $12.7 billion, equivalent to 3.2% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in September 2020.     For the first nine months of 2020 as a whole, the value of total exports of goods decreased by 4.0% over the same period in 2019. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods decreased by 6.8%. A visible trade deficit of $232.9 billion, equivalent to 7.6% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in the first nine months of 2020.     Comparing the third quarter of 2020 with the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods increased by 4.4%. Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods increased by 3.6%.Analysis by country/territory     Comparing September 2020 with September 2019, total exports to Asia as a whole grew by 11.2%. In this region, increases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations, in particular the mainland of China (the Mainland) (+17.0%), Taiwan (+10.4%), Vietnam (+6.9%) and Korea (+5.2%). On the other hand, decreases were recorded in the values of total exports to India (-16.2%), Thailand (-15.5%), Japan (-14.4%) and Singapore (-11.2%).      Apart from destinations in Asia, decreases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular Germany (-2.5%) and the United Kingdom (-0.9%). On the other hand, an increase was recorded in the value of total exports to the USA (+5.7%).     Over the same period of comparison, increases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular Taiwan (+37.8%), Malaysia (+20.0%), Singapore (+17.1%) and Korea (+15.1%). Concurrently, decreases were recorded in the values of imports from the USA (-21.6%), Japan (-7.4%) and the Mainland (-0.9%).     For the first nine months of 2020 as a whole, year-on-year decreases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations, in particular India (-19.4%), Germany (-19.2%), the USA (-19.2%) and Singapore (-17.2%). However, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports to Taiwan (+8.2%) and the Mainland (+4.0%).     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year decreases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular the USA (-21.9%), the Mainland (-10.5%) and Japan (-7.3%). However, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports from Vietnam (+35.5%), Taiwan (+22.5%), Korea (+6.5%) and Singapore (+5.9%).Analysis by major commodity     Comparing September 2020 with September 2019, increases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular “electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof” (by $28.7 billion or 19.7%), “office machines and automatic data processing machines” (by $6.0 billion or 18.1%) and “telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment” (by $3.6 billion or 5.7%). However, decreases were registered in the values of total exports of “non-metallic mineral manufactures” (by $2.8 billion or -19.2%), “articles of apparel and clothing accessories” (by $2.2 billion or -26.2%) and “photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks” (by $1.1 billion or -12.0%).      Over the same period of comparison, increases were registered in the values of imports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular “electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof” (by $23.3 billion or 15.7%), “office machines and automatic data processing machines” (by $4.4 billion or 15.4%) and “essential oils and resinoids and perfume materials; toilet, polishing and cleansing preparations” (by $2.6 billion or 66.7%). However, decreases were registered in the values of imports of “non-metallic mineral manufactures” (by $4.3 billion or -26.4%), “telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment” (by $3.4 billion or -5.3%) and “miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares)” (by $3.1 billion or -13.7%).     For the first nine months of 2020 as a whole, year-on-year decreases were registered in the values of total exports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular “telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment” (by $63.9 billion or -12.0%), “miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares)” (by $40.1 billion or -23.5%), “non-metallic mineral manufactures” (by $36.3 billion or -30.3%) and “articles of apparel and clothing accessories” (by $26.9 billion or -36.5%). However, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of total exports of “electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof” (by $86.6 billion or 7.6%) and “office machines and automatic data processing machines” (by $20.9 billion or 7.2%).     Over the same period of comparison, year-on-year decreases were registered in the values of imports of some principal commodity divisions, in particular “non-metallic mineral manufactures” (by $53.0 billion or -38.1%), “telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment” (by $45.4 billion or -9.2%) and “miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares)” (by $41.2 billion or -20.8%). However, year-on-year increases were registered in the values of imports of “electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof” (by $57.0 billion or 4.6%) and “power generating machinery and equipment” (by $9.6 billion or 14.2%).Commentary     A Government spokesman said that merchandise exports turned to a notable year-on-year increase in September, mainly led by the visible acceleration in exports to the Mainland. Exports to the US reverted to moderate growth and those to the EU saw a much narrowed decline in September, thanks to the economic recovery in these markets.  Exports to other major Asian markets showed mixed performance.     Looking ahead, the solid recovery of the Mainland economy will likely render some support to Hong Kong’s exports in the near term. Yet, in some advanced markets the resurgence of COVID-19 infections has cast uncertainty over their near-term outlook. The development of China-US relations, geopolitical tensions and the EU-UK trade negotiations also warrant attention.  The Government will monitor relevant developments closely.Further information     Table 1 at the annex presents the analysis of external merchandise trade statistics for September 2020. Table 2 presents the original monthly trade statistics from January 2017 to September 2020, and Table 3 gives the seasonally adjusted series for the same period.     The values of total exports of goods to 10 main destinations for September 2020 are shown in Table 4, whereas the values of imports of goods from 10 main suppliers are given in Table 5.     Tables 6 and 7 show the values of total exports and imports of 10 principal commodity divisions for September 2020.     All the merchandise trade statistics described here are measured at current prices and no account has been taken of changes in prices between the periods of comparison. A separate analysis of the volume and price movements of external merchandise trade for September 2020 will be released in mid-November 2020.     The September 2020 issue of “Hong Kong External Merchandise Trade” contains detailed analysis on the performance of Hong Kong’s external merchandise trade in September 2020 and will be available in mid-November 2020. Users can download the publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp230.jsp).     Enquiries on merchandise trade statistics may be directed to the Trade Analysis Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2582 5042).

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