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Hong Kong port shows stable growth in 2008

After expanding by 9.2% in 2007, Hong Kong’s total exports moderated to a 6.6% YoY growth in the first 11 months of 2008. Hong Kong's major export markets are the Mainland, the EU, the US and Japan, which respectively comprised 49%, 14%, 13% and 4% of Hong Kong's total exports. During the period, exports to the Chinese mainland and the EU surged by 6.3% and 7.7%, respectively, while sales to the US fell by 1.3% and those to Japan registered marginal growth of 1.9%. Imports rose by 7.6% in January-November 2008, after a 10.3% increase in 2007.

Hong Kong's trade performance is in part fuelled by outward processing activities in Guangdong where the majority of Hong Kong companies have extended their manufacturing base. In the first three quarters of 2008, 35% of Hong Kong's total exports to the Chinese mainland were related to outward processing activities; the figure was 40% for domestic exports and 35% for re-exports. However, Hong Kong's exports have deteriorated recently as the external environment has become increasingly challenging. The slowdown of the world economy and the lingering effect of financial turbulence are putting a curb on external demand.

In December, the Hong Kong port’s container throughput declined by as much as 24.1% over December 2007, handling some 1.6 million TEU. For the entire year, 24.3 million TEU had been handled at the Hong Kong port, showing only a 1% rise YoY. Over in Shenzhen, the collective ports there handled 1.7 million TEU in December, 15.7% less than in December 2007. For 2008, the Shenzhen ports handled a total of 21.4 million TEU (1.5% growth rate), and it ranked 4th among the world’s top five busiest ports.

For 2008, the world’s busiest port is Singapore which handled 29.9 million TEU (7.1% growth), followed by Shanghai port which handled 28 million TEU (7% growth), and then Hong Kong, followed by Shenzhen, and the fifth is Pusan which handled 13.4 million TEU (1.2% growth).