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Hong Kong exports strong in 1Q 08

Booming intra-Asia trade, sustained demand from Europe and firmer export prices have spurred Hong Kong exports’ growth by 11.5% in the first four months of the year, said the HKTDC’s Hong Kong Trade Quarterly. “Falling exports to the US but expanding sales to the EU have helped bring a slowdown in cargo diversion and, in turn, served to lift Hong Kong’s re-exports,” noted Edward Leung, the TDC’s Chief Economist. “EU buyers, for their part, are more inclined to use Hong Kong as a consolidation centre.”

Leung said that although the US economy is expected to pick-up slightly in the later part of the year, the main engine for Hong Kong’s export growth will intra-Asian trade, particularly with the Chinese mainland. In the first four months of the year, Hong Kong’s re-exports to the Chinese mainland of China-origin goods increased 17%, which Leung said is due to the rapid growth of local sourcing the mainland and the increased use of Hong Kong as the regional distribution centre for manufacturing processes in the mainland.

The Hong Kong port’s throughput in the first four months of the year totalled 7.8mn TEUs, up by 5.3% on the previous year, and by May, some 9.9mn TEUs had been handled at the port, a rise of 4.5% to the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, the Shenzhen ports handled 8.4mn TEUs from Jan-May 2008, a rise of 8% over the previous year.