Hong Kong's goods exports in December fell 11.4 percent year on year to 205.8 billion HK dollars (26.4 billion U.S. dollars), dragging the export growth for 2008 as a whole down to 5.1 percent, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said Thursday.
The imports in December fell by 16.2 percent to 217.6 billion HK dollars (27.9 billion U.S. dollars), the Census and Statistics Department said.
The imports for 2008 as a whole rose 5.5 percent, leading to a visible trade deficit of 201.1 billion HK dollars (25.8 billion U.S. dollars), which was equivalent to 6.6 percent of the value of goods imports in 2008, it added.
Comparing the fourth quarter of 2008 with the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, the total exports decreased by 4.8percent.
The exports to Asia in December went down 12.2 percent year on year, including a decrease of 12.1 percent for the Chinese mainland, as well as a decrease of 32.4 percent for Korea, 22.2 percent for India, 9.7 percent for Singapore, among others.
Exports to the United States in December were down 14.8 percent, while exports to the Netherlands fell 13.8 percent. Exports to the United Kingdom fell 10 percent.
The telecommunications and sound recording industry was one of the industries most affected, recording a decrease of 21.8 percent in exports, followed by 10.2 percent in electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts. The exports in articles of apparel and clothing accessories saw a decrease of 11.6 percent.
A spokesman for the HKSAR government attributed the steeper decline in December to the deepening global economic downturn.
Many other Asian economies also saw double-digit export declines recently, he added.
He said the outlook for Hong Kong's external trade in the coming months remained subject to considerable uncertainties and down drag from the external environment.
The prospects for a turnaround will depend much on how the financial tsunami plays out and when the external trading environment begins to improve, he said.