Hong Kong’s exports rose last month for the first time in more than a year as trade with mainland China improved, providing some optimism for the financial hub’s economic outlook.
Overseas shipments grew 1.4% in October from a year earlier to HK$379.9 billion ($48.8 billion), the Census and Statistics Department said Monday. That was better than the median estimate of a 2.9% drop in a Bloomberg survey of economists, and marked the first month of growth for exports since April 2022.
Imports grew 2.6% from a year earlier to HK$405.6 billion, roughly in line with economists’ estimates. It was the first gain since June 2022. The trade deficit was HK$25.8 billion.
The city saw pickups across Asia, with total exports to the region growing 5.2% in the month. Shipments to mainland China expanded 5.6%, reversing several straight months of declines. Those to India, Vietnam and Thailand rose by double digit percentages. Exports to Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan still fell, though. Shipments to the US rose 0.5%.
“Overall export performance largely remained weak” despite the rise in exports, a government spokesman said in a statement accompanying the release. “The difficult external environment amid heightened geopolitical tensions and tight financial conditions will continue to weigh on Hong Kong’s export performance in the near term.”
Hong Kong recently lowered its economic growth forecast for this year in a sign that tough times are still ahead for the financial hub amid a muted post-pandemic recovery.
Gross domestic product is expected to expand 3.2% in 2023, the Census and Statistics Department said earlier this month, lower than a previous prediction that the economy would grow in a range of 4% to 5%.