Hong Kong February Exports Unexpectedly Rise Despite Virus



Eric Lam | Bloomberg

  • Imports declined for 15th month, widening trade deficit
  • Exports rise due to distortions in timing of Lunar New Year

Hong Kong’s exports rose unexpectedly in February after plunging the most in more than a decade the previous month as the impact of the escalating coronavirus outbreak on global trade was offset by the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Exports rose 4.3% in February from year-ago levels to HK$238.6 billion($30.8 billion), better than the -20% median forecast among economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Imports dropped 0.1% to HK$277.1 billion, extending declines for a 15th straight month. The trade deficit widened to HK$38.6 billion.

The moderate increase in February stemmed largely from “distortions from the timing of the Lunar New Year,” the government said in a statement. The major holiday period fell in February last year and in January this year.

Taking the two months together, exports fell 12% in value terms, reflecting the serious disruptions to regional trade caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, the government said. The decline is the worst for a combined two-month period since 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


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