Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release

External Merchandise Trade Statistics for January 2020


For more information, please contact

Melissa Ng in New York City: (212) 752 3320
Wing Yan Tong in San Francisco: (415) 835 9315

Daniel McAtee in Washington, D.C.: (202) 238 6360

February 25, 2020 - The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government released today the external merchandise trade statistics for January 2020. In January 2020, the values of Hong Kong's total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year decreases, at 22.7% and 16.4% respectively.

In January 2020, the value of total exports of goods decreased by 22.7% over a year earlier to HK$269.4 billion (US$34.5 billion), after a year-on-year increase of 3.3% in December 2019. Concurrently, the value of imports of goods decreased by 16.4% over a year earlier to HK$300.0 billion (US$38.4 billion) in January 2020, after a year-on-year decrease of 1.9% in December 2019. A visible trade deficit of HK$30.6 billion (US$3.9 billion) equivalent to 10.2% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in January 2020.

Comparing the three-month period ending January 2020 with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods decreased by 4.4%. Meanwhile, the value of imports of goods decreased by 2.2%.

Comparing January 2020 with January 2019, total exports to Asia as a whole went down by 21.0%. Apart from destinations in Asia, decreases were registered in the values of total exports to some major destinations in other regions, in particular the United Kingdom (-37.4%), the USA (-33.0%) and Germany (-19.4%).

Over the same period of comparison, decreases were registered in the values of imports from some major suppliers, in particular the Mainland (-25.1%), the USA (-16.6%), Malaysia (-15.1%) and Japan (-4.9%). Concurrently, increases were recorded in the values of imports from Vietnam (+20.5%) and the United Kingdom (+14.9%).

A Government spokesman said that merchandise exports registered a visible year-on-year decline in January 2020, partly distorted by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in late January this year but in early February last year. It would thus be more meaningful to analyze the trade figures for January and February combined, when available, for a clearer picture of the underlying situation, particularly the impact of the coronavirus infection in the region on external trade performance.

Looking ahead, despite some easing in US-Mainland trade tensions lately, the global economic recovery is still fragile and fraught with uncertainties. Of particular concern is the threat of the novel coronavirus infection, which will heavily weigh on regional production and trading activities.  Hong Kong’s merchandise exports will face a very austere external trading environment in the coming few months. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.

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