Thursday January 19 2017
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady At 3.3%
Census and Statistics Department | Deborah Neves | deborah.neves@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 3.3 percent in the three months to December 2016, the same as in the previous month. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4 percent for the tenth straight period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of underemployed persons fell by 300 to 54,400 and unemployed persons declined by around 8,600 to 122,000. Decreases in the unemployment rate were mainly seen in the information and communications sector and in the import and export trade sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while a increase was mainly seen in the education sector.   

Employment increased by 10,700 to 3,817,000 and the labour force rose by 2,200 to 3,939,100.


On the short-term outlook, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare said that "while the labour market can be expected to remain generally tight in the near term, the potential repercussions of various external uncertainties on the local economy remain a cause for concern". 




Thursday December 29 2016
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Widens in November
Statistics of Hong Kong l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's trade deficit rose by 2.9 percent to HKD 34.05 billion in November 2016 from HKD 33.09 billion the same month of the previous year. It was the lowest deficit since August as exports increased by 8.1 percent while imports rose by 7.6 percent. Considering the first eleven months of the year, the trade deficit was recorded at HKD 374.9 billion, with exports declining by 1.5 percent and imports decreasing at a faster pace 1.9 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

Year-on-year, exports increased by 8.1 percent to HKD 340.9 billion in November of 2016, after decrease of 1.8 percent in October 2016. Exports to Asia as a whole grew by 12.8 percent, mainly to Taiwan (+45.3 percent), India (+41.7 percent), Singapore (+30 percent), Thailand (+22.1 percent), Indonesia (+14,2 percent), and China (+11.9 percent). Sales decreased were recorded to Vienam (-4 percent), United Kingdom (-10.6 percent), the USA (-7.6 percent), and Germany (-5.9 percent).
 
By commodity, exports increased for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+17.2 percent), and office machines and automatic data processing machines (+12.3 percent). A decrease in exports was registered for articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-17.5 percent). For the first eleven months of 2016 as a whole, exports fell 1.5 percent compared to the same period of 2015.
 
Year-on-year, imports increased by 7.6 percent to HKD 374.9 billion, after an increase of 0.5 percent in the preceding month. Rises were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular Korea (+40.2 percent), Singapore (+26.1 percent), Philipnnies (+25.6 percent), Taiwan (+22.2 percent), Japan (+13.3 percent), the USA (+12.3 percent), and China (+2.4 percent). Concurrently, decreases were registered in the values of imports from India (-5.5 percent)
 
By commodity, imports went up for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+20.4 percent); miscellaneous manufactured articles (+10.3 percent), and professional scientific and controlling instrument (+20.9 percent). For the first eleven months of 2016 as a whole, imports fell 1.9 percent compared to the same period of 2015.
 
For the first eleven months of 2016 as whole, there was a trade deficit of HKD 374.9 billion. Exports went down by 1.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015, in particular to Vietnam (-7.6 percent), Japan (-5.6 percent), the USA (-4.9 percent), Korea (-2.6 percent), and China (-0.9 percent).




Tuesday December 20 2016
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Steady At 1.2% In November
Census and Statistics Department | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased by 1.2 percent year-on-year in October 2016, at the same pace as in the previous month. Inflation stayed at the lowest level since January 2010, mainly due to a slowdown in housing and utilities prices while food cost accelerated.

Year-on-year, prices increased at a slower pace for housing (+0.4 percent compared to +0.5 percent in October), as cost of public housing rent dropped sharply (-5.6 percent, unchanged from October) and private housing rent went up at a slower pace (+0.6 percent from +0.7 percent); and transport (+1.8 percent from +2.4 percent).

Also, cost fell for durable goods (-5 percent from -4.9 percent); clothing and footwear (-3 percent from -2.4 percent) and  electricity, gas and water (+0.3 percent from +4.9 percent).

By contrast, cost rose at a faster pace for: food (+3.2 percent from +2.6 percent);  miscellaneous services (+2.1 percent from +1.6 percent); and miscellaneous goods (+2.2 percent from +1.6 percent). 

Meanwhile, underlying consumer prices, which exclude the effects of one-off government relief measures, went up 2.1 percent, unchanged from October.

Taking the first eleven months of 2016 together, the consumer price index went up by 2.5 percent over a year earlier. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, it rose by 2.3 percent.

Looking ahead, inflation risks should remain contained in the near term, given the still-low global inflation and moderate rises in local costs, a spokesman commented.




Monday December 19 2016
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Falls To 3.3%
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong edged down to 3.3 percent in the three months to November 2016, after staying at 3.4 percent for eight consecutive periods. The figure came in below market expectations of 3.4 percent to hit the lowest reading since the three months to February. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4 percent for the ninth straight period.

Comparing with the three months to October 2016, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 5 500 from 136 100 to 130 600 in September-November 2016. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 600 from 55 300 to 54 700. Decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly seen in the professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sector and the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the education sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the retail sector. 

Total employment decreased by around 4 600 from 3 810 900 in August - October 2016 to 3 806 300 in September - November 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 10 100 from 3 947 000 to 3 936 900.

On the short-term outlook, "Labour market condition looks set to remain tight in the short term. Yet, the outlook beyond the near term continues to be overshadowed by a highly uncertain external environment, with potential impact on the local economy. We will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely", the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said.


Thursday November 24 2016
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Widens in October as Exports Fall
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's trade deficit rose by 25.5 percent to HKD 37.2 billion in October 2016 from HKD 29.7 billion the same month of the previous year, as exports fell by 1.8 percent while imports rose by 0.5 percent. Considering the first ten months of the year, the trade deficit was recorded at $341 billion, with exports declining by 2.5 percent and imports decreasing at a faster 2.9 percent over the same period in 2015.

Exports of goods decreased by 1.8 percent over a year earlier to HKD 313.7 billion, after an increase of 3.6 percent in September 2016. Exports to Asia as a whole went down by 0.9 percent, mainly to Thailand (-12.7 percent), Japan (-11 percent), Vietnam (-7 percent), India (-3.8 percent) and Korea (-3.4 percent). On the other hand, sales rose to Taiwan (+18.2 percent) and Singapore (+3.9 percent). Total exports to China remained virtually unchanged. Apart from destinations in Asia, decreases were also registered to Germany (-15.3 percent) and the United Kingdom (-13.5 percent). Concurrently, an increase was registered in the value of total exports to the US (+0.3 percent).

By commodity, exports declined for: Telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-11 percent); non-metallic mineral manufactures (-16.1 percent); and miscellaneous manufactured articles, mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (-12 percent). However, an increase was registered in electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+12.5 percent).

Imports of goods increased by 0.5 percent to HKD 350.9 billion, after a year-on-year increase of 4.1 percent the previous month. Increases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular Korea (+39.7 percent), India (+38.2 percent), the US (+11.7 percent), the Philippines (+10.4 percent) and Singapore (+9.9 percent). Concurrently, decreases were registered in the values of imports from China (-8 percent) and Japan (-6.7 percent).

By commodity, imports went up for: Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+9.8 percent); and non-metallic mineral manufactures (+17.2 percent). However, decreases were registered in the values of imports of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-9.3 percent); and miscellaneous manufactured articles, mainly jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (-13.1 percent).

For the first ten months of 2016 as a whole, there was a trade deficit of HKD 341 billion. Exports dropped by 2.5 percent over the same period in 2015, in particular to Vietnam (-8 percent), Japan (-6.1 percent), Germany (-5.1 percent), the US (-4.9 percent), Korea (-3.6 percent) and China (-2.3 percent); and imports decreased by 2.9 percent, as purchases decreased to Japan (-8.5 percent), the US (-4.9 percent), Malaysia (-4.7 percent) and the Mainland (-4.6 percent).


Tuesday November 22 2016
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Falls to Nearly 7-Year Low
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased by 1.2 percent year-on-year in October 2016, easing from a 2.7 percent gain the previous month. It was the lowest inflation rate since January 2010, mainly due to a slowdown in housing prices growth.

Year-on-year, prices increased at a slower pace for housing (+0.5 percent compared to +4.2 percent in September), as cost of public housing rent dropped sharply (-5.6 percent from +11.5 percent) while that of private housing rent went up (+0.7 percent from +3.8 percent); food (+2.6 percent from +2.7 percent); electricity, gas and water (+4.9 percent from +10.3 percent); miscellaneous services (+1.6 percent from +2.1 percent); and miscellaneous goods (+1.6 percent from +2.2 percent). Additional upward pressure came from transport (+2.4 percent from +1.7 percent).

By contrast, cost fell for durable goods (-4.9 percent from -5.4 percent) and clothing and footwear (-2.4 percent from -3.6 percent).

Meanwhile, underlying consumer prices, which exclude the effects of one-off government relief measures, went up 2.1 percent, following a 2.3 percent gain in September.

Taking the first ten months of 2016 together, the consumer price index rose by 2.7 percent over a year earlier. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, it rose by 2.4 percent.

Looking ahead, inflation pressure should remain moderate in the near term, given muted imported inflation and tame local cost pressures, a spokesman commented.


Thursday November 17 2016
Hong Kong Unemployment Rate Remains at 3.4%
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong came in at 3.4 percent in three months to October of 2016, the same as in the previous seven periods. The underemployment rate was also steady at 1.4 percent.

Compared to the three months to September, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 4 500 to 136 100 and the number of underemployed was 55 300, about the same as in July - September. Increases were seen in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the construction sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector.

Employment decreased by around 2 500 to 3 810 900  and the labour force also decreased by around 7 000 to 3 947 000.

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung commented that while the labour market is expected to remain largely stable in the near term, the considerable external uncertainties and their potential impact on the local economy remain causes for concern.


Friday November 11 2016
Hong Kong GDP Growth Beats Expectations in Q3
Census and Statistics Department l Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Hong Kong economy advanced 1.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, higher than a 1.7 percent expansion in the previous period and above market expectations of 1.6 percent, boosted by private spending and investment.

Private consumption increased 1.2 percent (0.5 percent in Q2) while government spending grew at a slightly slower 3.3 percent (3.5 percent in Q2). Gross fixed capital formation also expanded at a faster 6 percent (5 percent in Q2) as expenditure on machinery, equipment and intellectual property products rebounded and increased 6.1 percent (-11.2 percent in Q2) and expenditure on building and construction rose 3.4 percent (3.54 percent in Q2), boosted by private investment (+5.2 percent) while public one edged down 0.2 percent. 

Exports growth slowed (1.8 percent compared to 4.6 percent in Q2) and imports expanded at a slightly faster pace (1.7 percent compared to 1.6 percent in Q2). 

On a quarterly basis, the economy advanced 0.6 percent, slowing from a downwardly revised 1.5 percent expansion in the previous period but better than market expectations of 0.3 percent. 

The government revised its 2016 growth forecasts to 1.5 percent from 1-2 percent.




Thursday October 27 2016
Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens Sharply in September
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's trade deficit rose by 9.1 percent to HKD 39.7 billion in September 2016 from HKD 36.4 billion the same month of the previous year, as exports went up by 3.6 percent and imports rose at a faster 4.1 percent. Considering the first nine months of the year, the trade deficit was recorded at $304.2 billion, with exports declining by 2.6 percent and imports decreasing by 3.2 percent over the same period in 2015.

Exports of goods increased by 3.6 percent over a year earlier to HKD 328.0 billion, after an increase of 0.8 percent in August 2016. Exports to Asia as a whole grew by 4.9 percent, mainly to Taiwan (+27.9 percent), India (+20.8 percent), Singapore (+7.8 percent), China (+5.1 percent) and Korea (+3.4 percent). On the other hand, sales fell to Thailand (-11.8 percent), Vietnam (-5.8 percent) and Japan (-4.6 percent). Apart from destinations in Asia, decreases were registered to some major destinations in other regions, in particular Germany (-16.3 percent), the US (-1.2 percent) and the United Kingdom (-0.8 percent).

By commodity, exports rose for: Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+13.2 percent); non-metallic mineral manufactures (+29.2 percent); and office machines and automatic data processing machines (+2.1 percent). However, a decrease was registered in telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-3.1 percent).

Imports of goods increased by 4.1 percent to HKD 367.7 billion, after a year-on-year increase of 2.8 percent the previous month. Increases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular Singapore (+20.5 percent), Korea (+20 percent), India (+19.4 percent), Taiwan (+9.9 percent), Malaysia (+5.2 percent) and China (+1.2 percent). Concurrently, decreases were registered in the values of imports from Japan (-5.9 percent) and Thailand (-3.9 percent).

By commodity, imports went up for: Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+11.1 percent); non-metallic mineral manufactures (+14.4 percent); and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+3.3 percent). However, a decrease was registered in office machines and automatic data processing machines (-5.3 percent).

For the first nine months of 2016 as a whole, there was a trade deficit of HKD 304.2 billion. Exports dropped by 2.6 percent over the same period in 2015, in particular to Vietnam (-8.1 percent), Japan (-5.5 percent), the US (-5.5 percent), Germany (-3.9 percent), Korea (-3.7 percent) and China (-2.6 percent); and imports decreased by 3.2 percent, as purchases decreased to Japan (-8.6 percent), the US (-6.6 percent), Malaysia (-5.6 percent) and China (-4.2 percent).


Thursday October 20 2016
Hong Kong Inflation Slows to 2.7% in September
Census and Statistics Department | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased 2.7 percent year-on-year in September of 2016, following 4.3 percent rise in the previous month. The larger growth in August 2016 was attributable to the low base of comparison arising from the Government's payment of public housing rentals a year ago, and such effect did not come into play in September. Netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, the inflation rate was 2.3 percent, slightly larger than 2 percent in August.

Year-on-year, prices increased at a slower pace for housing (+4.2 percent compared to +9.5 percent in August);  meals bought away from home (+2.9 percent from +3 percent in August); food excluding meals bought away from home (+2.2 percent compared to +2.3 percent in August); miscellaneous goods (+2.2 percent compared to +2.5 percent in August); miscellaneous services (+2.1 percent compared to +2.7 percent in August) and transport (+1.7 percent compared to +2 percent in August).

In contrast, electricity, gas and water went up at a faster 10.3 percent(+4.2 percent in August), mainly due to the low base of comparison resulted from the special fuel rebate in electricity starting from mid-August last year.

Also, prices fell for durable goods (-5.4 percent, compared to -5.3 percent in August) and clothing and footwear (-3.6 percent compared to -5 percent in August).
Considering the first nine months of 2016, the CPI rose by 2.8 percent over a year earlier but netting out the effects of all Government's one-off relief measures, it went up at a slower 2.4 percent.

The spokesman commented that looking ahead, inflation pressure should remain contained in the near term, given the subdued global inflation as well as moderate local cost pressures.