Hong Kong recorded an export plunge of 24.1 per cent year on year in November, the sharpest drop in almost seven decades, amid worsening demand in mainland China, the United States and the European Union.
The decline followed a drop in October, when exports contracted by 10.4 per cent compared with the same month last year, the Census and Statistics Department revealed on Thursday.
November’s contraction in exports marked the city’s worst monthly performance since May 1954, when the figure was down 24.4 per cent year on year.
Economists said the further deterioration of the city’s trade performance last month had occurred amid a period featuring disruptions to cross-border land transport and overseas countries raising interest rates to combat inflation.
The city would pin its recovery hopes on the coming quarantine-free travel with the mainland from mid-January, they said.
Beijing earlier announced that it would scrap its strict entry regime for cross-border travellers, as well as ease most of the mainland’s coronavirus restrictions from January 8.
A government spokesman on Thursday said Hong Kong’s export performance would continue to face huge challenges in the near term, as monetary policy tightening in advanced economies had further dampened demand.
“Nonetheless, the recent relaxation of cross-boundary land transport restrictions may offset some of the pressures,” he said.
Hong Kong logged a trade deficit of HK$27.1 billion in November, with exports shrinking to HK$360 billion (US$46.2 billion) and imports tumbling to HK$387.1 billion, down 20.3 per cent compared with the same month last year.
During the first 11 months of this year, the city’s exports slipped by 6.4 per cent and imports fell 5.4 per cent from the same period last year.