HK exports rise 26 per cent in 2021, making biggest jump since 1988

28-Jan-2022 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong’s exports rose at their sharpest pace in 33 years in 2021 in tandem with the global economic recovery, but the unfolding Omicron outbreak has cast a shadow on the sustainability of growth.

Exports jumped 26.3 per cent last year, the strongest showing since 1988 when they soared 30.4 per cent, the Census and Statistics Department said on Thursday. Imports leapt 24.3 per cent last year, the most since 2010 when they grew 25 per cent.

The stellar performance in trade a pillar industry helped drive Hong Kong’s gross domestic product, which the government expects to grow at 6.4 per cent in 2021, year-on-year, placing it at the top end of the official forecast of between 5.5 and 6.5 per cent.

A government spokesman said exports to Hong Kong’s core trading partners of mainland China, the United States and the European Union all expanded notably, while those to other major Asian markets such as Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan increased by various amounts.

“Looking ahead, while the global economic recovery should continue to support Hong Kong’s exports, pandemic-induced logistic disruptions may pose some pressure on the export performance in the near term,” he said.

Since the first Omicron case emerged in late November last year, the variant has infected millions of people around the world and triggered the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. The city saw a daily caseload record of 164 infections on Thursday, taking the overall tally to 13,790, with 213 related deaths.

Last year, Hong Kong’s total trade was worth HK$10.26 trillion (US$1.31 trillion), surpassing the previous record in 2018 by 15.6 per cent.

In December alone, exports grew at 24.8 per cent, to reach HK$489.5 billion after a year-on-year increase of 25 per cent in November.

Imports rose by 19.3 per cent in December over a year earlier, hitting HK$522.3 billion after a year-on-year increase of 20.0 per cent in November.

Louis Chan, principal economist at the Trade Development Council’s Global Research Team, said the trade outlook was uncertain but so far Omicron had not caused severe disruptions to the health care system of major countries such as the US, the UK and France, while the number of deaths remained relatively low.

“If the situation continues, I am not too worried about the global economic outlook and hence Hong Kong’s exports,” he said.


Category: Hong Kong

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