The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) on Wednesday (9 December) revealed the latest HKTDC Export Index has increased to 36.2 points in the fourth quarter this year, projecting the country’s exports to grow 5 per cent by value next year.
HKTDC noted that the index has rebounded from a record low of 16.0 to 36.2 points, with a broad improvement across all major industries.
Alice Tsang, an assistant principal economist at HKTDC, said the index remains in contraction territory which indicated that “uncertainties have cast a shadow on the short-term export outlook”.
“Among other issues, the survey showed that the pandemic (54.9%), declining global demand (23.8%) and escalated trade tensions between the United States and Mainland China (9.6%) are the major concerns for Hong Kong exporters,” said Ms Tsang.
HKTDC also revised its estimates for this year’s total exports to 3 per cent decline, lower than its initial estimate of 10 per cent decline.
“Amid the pandemic, local exporters turned swiftly to online sales platforms to connect with buyers and get new orders,” said Nicholas Kwan, HKTDC’s director of research.
“Driven by the rise of the stay-at-home economy, the demand for computers, webcams and microphones has increased greatly, making the city’s electronics exporters more optimistic about growth opportunities in the coming year,” he added.
To gauge local exporters’ business confidence on near-term export prospects, HKTDC has surveyed 500 local exporters from six major industries, including machinery, electronics, jewellery, watches and clocks, toys and clothing.
As a result, about 60 per cent of these local exporters have anticipated sales to increase or remain unchanged in the coming year.
“Hong Kong exports have more room to grow with the new opportunities arising from Mainland China’s ‘dual circulation’ policy and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, coupled with the implementation of a free trade agreement between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which promotes inter-regional trade,” said Mr Kwan.
In terms of major markets, Hong Kong exporters are more confident in the mainland, Japan, and ASEAN. While the outlook for the European Union and the US is deemed to be less promising.
Aside from the main index, all subsidiary indexes revealed an upward trend, showing signs of improvement in trade value, procurement and employment, said HKTDC.
The demand for imported liquor such as sake and fruit wine is expected to be on the rise next year.
In a separate survey, HKTDC found that the emergence of cocktail culture in the mainland has promoted the consumption of spirits, with mainland consumers spending an average of RMB3,059 in the past year on buying spirits, cocktails, vodka, whisky, brandy, rum, and liqueur.
The survey was conducted in May with about 1,500 middle-class mainland consumers from Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Harbin, Changsha, Nanjing and Xian polled through an online questionnaire.