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Export Confidence Maintained Despite Temporary Shortfall

Hong Kong Trade Development Council's Research Department Revises Export Growth Forecast

Hong Kong, June 25, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - Hong Kong's exports in the first four months of the year performed weaker than expected, growing only 0.1%, according to Nicholas Kwan, Director of Research at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), speaking today at a press conference. He added that the HKTDC had revised Hong Kong's export growth forecast for 2014 from 5.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent.

Export Index Dips

Mr Kwan also revealed that the HKTDC Export Index for the second quarter had edged down 0.5 points from the previous quarter, to 47.6. A reading below 50 indicates a pessimistic sentiment and signals a quarter-on-quarter contraction in Hong Kong's exports.

Among industry sub-indices, there were improvements in toys, jewellery and electronics. The respective indices for clothing, machinery and timepieces, however, had softened. The export index for clothing, in particular, dropped below the 40 mark, to 39.4. As to individual markets, the indices for Japan, the United States and the Chinese mainland were all hovering around 50, reflecting the generally neutral sentiments of exporters in these markets. Confidence in the European market was somewhat weaker.

Buoyant Prospects

That said, Mr Kwan believed that there would be improvements in the global trade environment in the second half of the year. He also said that Hong Kong's export prospects remain buoyant.

His point was echoed by Daniel Poon, the HKTDC's Principal Economist (Global Research). "As America's economic recovery gains momentum, the unfavourable effects of the severe cold weather at the beginning of this year are now subsiding. As recoveries in the European Union and Japan are also expected to keep their courses, the developed economies should be the main driving force behind global economic growth."

Focus on Asia

Mr Poon encouraged Hong Kong companies to redouble their sales efforts in traditional markets, while responding to business opportunities in emerging markets. Asia, he emphasised, remains the region with the most economic vibrancy. Turning to specific markets, Mr Poon had the following comments:

- US: Its economic growth is expected to be the strongest among developed countries. The quantitative easing programme may well be withdrawn this year, but the low-interest rate environment is expected to linger.

- European Union: The gradual stabilisation of the debt crises and the extensive implementation of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms among member countries will lead to the continual recovery of the EU economy. Growth resumed in the EU beginning the second quarter of last year and the momentum will be maintained and extended to countries such as Portugal and Spain. Non-euro countries such as the United Kingdom also performed decently.

- Japan: "Abenomics" continues to contribute positively to the economy. The aggressive monetary easing policy is keeping the strength of the yen in check and boosting exports. But the sales tax hikes this year and next will have an adverse impact on consumption.

- Chinese mainland: Although the government has signalled that it may accept slower economic growth, it is still expected to roll out stimulus measures to maintain economic vitality. In the long term, its reforms will boost the economy, while urbanisation will stimulate domestic demand, generating major business opportunities for Hong Kong suppliers.

- ASEAN: The ASEAN Community to be established in 2015 will promote economic growth in member countries and throughout the region. Hong Kong suppliers should exploit opportunities in emerging consumer markets such as Indonesia, while considering markets with low production costs such as Myanmar and Cambodia and exploring the feasibility of setting up production bases in those countries.

- Other emerging markets: The hosting of the FIFA World Cup this year and the Summer Olympics in 2016 is stimulating economic growth in Brazil; outlooks for Mexico, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Turkey are promising, while Dubai remains a regional trading hub.

Looking at the major industries, Mr Poon said sales prospects should be generally optimistic in the medium term, as the global trading environment improves.

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A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Google+, Twitter @hktdc, LinkedIn.


Source: HKTDC

Corporate Communication Department
Joe Kainz
Tel: +852 2584 4216
Email: [email protected]

Copyright 2014 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.

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