Tuesday March 21 2017
Hong Kong Consumer Prices Fall For 1st Time In 7-1/2 Years
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong fell by 0.1 percent year-on-year in February 2017, compared to a 1.3 percent rise in the previous month. It is the first decrease since August of 2009 due to several factors: difference in the timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in late January this year but in early February last year; high base of comparison a year earlier when prices of basic foodstuffs surged because of bad weather conditions and downward adjustment in electricity charges. Taking the first two months of 2017 together to neutralise the effect of the Lunar New Year, consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent over a year earlier.

Year-on-year, decreases in prices were recorded for electricity, gas and water (-7.5 percent vs -7.6 percent in January); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (-3.7 percent vs 2.3 percent); durable goods (-3.7 percent vs -3.9 percent); clothing and footwear (-3.3 percent vs -2.9 percent) and miscellaneous services (-1.1 percent vs 3.6 percent). In contrast, increases were seen for transport (3.1 percent vs 2.4 percent), meals bought away from home (2.8 percent vs 3.1 percent), alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.7 percent vs 1.6 percent) and miscellaneous goods (2.5 percent vs 2.4 percent).

Underlying consumer prices, which exclude the effects of one-off government relief measures went up 0.7 percent compared to 2.1 percent in January as the difference in the timing of the Lunar New Year resulted in lower charges for package tours. Another downward pressure came from falling prices of fresh vegetables.




Thursday March 16 2017
Hong Kong Unemployment Rate Steady At 3.3%
Statistics of Hong Kong | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 3.3 percent in the three months to February 2017, the same as in the previous period. The underemployment rate decreased to 1.2 percent from 1.3 percent in November 2016 - January 2017. The jobless rate benefited from the relative improvement of inbound tourism and in more buoyant business activities during the festive period.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, an increase was mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the real estate sector. The number of unemployed persons fell by around 1.7 thousand to 119.4 thousand and employment rose by 15 thousand to 3.82 million. Also, the labour force increased by 13.3 thousand to 3.94 million.

The labour market is expected to remain tight in the near term. The employment outlook still hinges on the play-out of various external uncertainties on the local economy. 




Monday February 27 2017
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Narrows To 5-Year Low
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's trade deficit decreased by 29.4 percent to HKD 12.30 billion in January 2017 from HKD 17.48 billion the same month of the previous year as imports declined more than exports. Exports went down by 1.2 percent to HKD 296.3 billion while imports decreased by 2.7 percent to HKD 308.6 billion. It is the smallest deficit since January 2012.

Year-on-year, exports decreased by 1.2 percent to HKD 296.3 billion in January 2017 after an increase of 10.1 percent in December 2016. Exports to Asia as a whole went down by 1.8 percent, mainly to Vietnam (-7.5 percent); China (-5.8 percent); Phillippines (-2.9 percent) and Japan (-2.2 percent). 

By commodity, exports declined for: non-metallic mineral manufactures (-13.9 percent); power generating machinery and equipment (-16.1 percent) and textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products (-13.9 percent). In contrast, sales of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof went up 1.6 percent.
 
Year-on-year, imports went down by 2.7 percent to HKD 308.6 billion in January 2017, after an increase 8.7 percent in the preceding month. Falls were recorded from Malaysia (-14.2 percent); the USA (-13.2 percent); Japan (-6.2 percent); Thailand (-5.4 percent) and China (-4.8 percent).

By commodity, imports declined for: office machines and automatic data processing machines (-12.2 percent); miscellaneous manufactured articles (-16 percent); and articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-12 percent). However, imports of electrical machinery apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof rose 6.7 percent. 
  
 




Wednesday February 22 2017
Hong Kong GDP Growth Strongest In 1-1/2-Year In Q4
Statistic of Hong Kong l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Hong Kong economy grew 3.1 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to an upwardly revised 2.0 percent expansion in the September quarter. It was the strongest growth since the June quarter 2015, mainly supported by a faster rise in private consumption and exports of goods while government spending and investment expanded further.

Private consumption increased 3.2 percent, up from a 1.2 percent rise in the September quarter. Government spending rose 3.3 percent (the same as in the prior quarter). Gross fixed capital formation expanded 5.2 percent (from 6.7 percent, as expenditure on machinery, equipment and intellectual property products decreased by 4.2 percent while expenditure on building and construction rose 6.9 percent). Exports of goods increased by 5 .1 percent (from 2.4 percent) and exports of services went up 1.4 percent (from -2.4 percent). Imports of goods expanded 5.5 percent (from 3.1 percent) while import of services rose 1.8 percent (from 0.7 percent).
 
On a quarterly basis, the economy advanced 1.2 percent, faster than an upwardly revised 0.8 percent expansion in the previous quarter. Private consumption rose at a faster 1.5 percent (from 0.9 percent in the third quarter), followed by government spending (1.0 percent from 0.5 percent). Exports of goods increased by 3.9 percent (from 0.7 percent) while exports of services went up 1.2 percent (from 1.6 percent). Imports of goods rose 1.6 percent, rebounding from a 0.3 percent drop. Imports of services grew by 0.5 percent, faster than a 0.1 percent rise in the prior quarter.  
 
For full 2016, the economy expanded by 1.9 percent, slower than a 2.4 percent growth in 2015. 




Tuesday February 21 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Rises To 1.3% In January
Census and Statistics Department | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong went up by 1.3 percent year-on-year in January 2017, compared to a 1.2 percent rise in the previous month. It is the highest rate inflation since September 2016, mainly due to rising transport cost, namely package tours as the Lunar New Year fell in late January this year but in early February last year. This largely offset a fall in electricity charges and lower food inflation.

Year-on-year, prices increased at a faster pace for transport (2.4 percent from 2 percent) and miscellaneous goods (3.6 percent from 2.3 percent). Housing rose 0.3 percent (the same as in December) and food went up at a slower pace (2.8 percent from 3.1 percent).

By contrast, cost fell for electricity, gas and water (-7.6 percent from -0.3 percent in December), clothing and footwear ( -2.9 percent from -0.3 percent), and durable goods (-3.9 percent from -5.2 percent).

Meanwhile, underlying consumer prices, which exclude the effects of one-off government relief measures went up 2.1 percent compared to 2 percent in December mainly due to higher charges for package tours around Lunar New Year.

Inflationary pressures are expected be contained in the near term given the soft import prices and moderate local cost increases, a government spokesman commented.


Monday February 20 2017
Hong Kong Unemployment Rate Flat at 3.3%
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong stood at 3.3 percent in the three months to January of 2017, the same as in the previous two periods. The underemployment rate decreased to 1.3 percent from 1.4 percent in October-December 2016. The jobless rate benefited from the relative improvement of inbound tourism in the more recent periods and the usually more buoyant business activities in the run-up to the Lunar New Year.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons fell by around 2.8 thousand to 119.2 thousand. Decreases were mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities sector and the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decline was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector. Employment rose by 14.1 thousand to 3.831 million and the labour force participation rate increased to 61.1 percent from 60.9 percent.

The labour market is expected to remain generally tight in the near term. The employment outlook still hinges on the play-out of various external uncertainties surrounding the local economy down the road. 


Thursday January 26 2017
Hong Kong Trade Deficit Narrows in December
Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong lChusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Hong Kong's trade deficit decreased by 4.6 percent to HKD 45.50 billion in December 2016 from HKD 45.71 billion the same month of the previous year as exports increased by 10.1 percent to HKD 340.34 billion while imports rose by 8.7 percent to HKD 385.82 billion. It was the largest deficit since June.

Year-on-year, exports increased by 10.1 percent to HKD 340.34 billion in December of 2016, after inccrease of 8.1 percent in November 2016. Exports to Asia as a whole grew by 13.8 percent, mainly to Taiwan (38.5 percent), India (9.6 percent), Singapore (18.4 percent), Thailand (12.9 percent), Vietnam (14.1 percent), Korea (22.6 percent), and China (14 percent). Lower sales were recorded to the United Kingdom (-2 percent), the USA (-9.4 percent), and Germany (-4.1 percent).
 
By commodity, exports went up for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (19.9 percent), telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (11.2 percent), and office machines and automatic data processing machines (6.8 percent). A decline in exports was registered for articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-17.8 percent). 
 
Year-on-year, imports rose by 8.7 percent to HKD 385.8 billion, after an increase of 7.6 percent in the preceding month. Rises were registered in imports from some major suppliers, in particular Korea (67.7 percent), India (27.8 percent), Singapore (25 percent), Philipinnes (24.9 percent), Taiwan (19 percent), Japan (11 percent),  and China (2.1 percent).
 
By commodity, imports increased for: electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (17.8 percent); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (8.9 percent), and non-metalic mineral manufactures (8.8 percent). However, a decrease was registrered in the value of imports of articles of apparel and clothing accesories (-15.6 percent).
 
For January to December of 2016 as whole, there was a trade deficit of HKD 420.1 billion. Exports went down by 0.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015, in particular to Vietnam (-5.8 percent), Japan (-4.9 percent), the USA (-5.3 percent), and Germany (-5.1 percent). Imports fell 0.9 percent. 


Monday January 23 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Unchanged At 1.2% In December
Census and Statistics Department | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased by 1.2 percent year-on-year in December 2016, the same pace as in the previous month. The inflation rate remained at its lowest level since January 2010, as prices of housing, food and services rose at a slower pace while cost of transport and goods went up further.

Year-on-year, prices increased at a slower pace for housing (+0.3 percent compared to +0.4 percent in November), as cost of public housing rent dropped sharply (-5.6 percent, unchanged from November) while that of private housing rent went up slightly (+0.5 percent from +0.6 percent); food (+3.1 percent from +3.2 percent); and miscellaneous services (+2 percent from +2.1 percent). Additional upward pressure came from transport (+2 percent from +1.8 percent in November) and miscellaneous goods (+2.3 percent from +2.2 percent).

By contrast, cost fell for durable goods (-5.2 percent from -5 percent in November); clothing and footwear (-3.6 percent from -3 percent) and electricity, gas and water (-0.3 percent from +0.3 percent).

Meanwhile, underlying consumer prices, which exclude the effects of one-off government relief measures, went up 2 percent, the smallest gain since July last year, mainly due to the smaller increases in the prices of fresh vegetables.

For 2016 as a whole, the consumer price index rose by 2.4 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 soft import prices and tame local cost pressures, a spokesman commented.


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).