HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s total exports in June fell for the 14th straight month, dampened by a slowdown in China, with the city’s factories bracing for more pain in coming months from the impact of Brexit.
Open and trade-dependent economies in Asia such as Hong Kong are expected to be among the most vulnerable to a slowdown in global trade from Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union as the effects filter through factory supply chains, analysts say.
Hong Kong’s total exports in June fell 1 percent from a year earlier to HK$296.5 billion ($38.2 billion), government data showed on Tuesday. Total imports fell 0.9 percent, in its 17th straight month of decline, to HK$342.1 billion.
In May, annual exports slipped 0.1 percent while imports dropped 4.3 percent.
For the first half of 2016, total exports value dropped 3.9 percent, while imports fell 5.6 percent. The city recorded a visible trade deficit of HK$199.6 billion for the first half period, equivalent to 10.8 percent of the value of imports.
“Looking ahead, the external trading environment remains challenging given the uncertainties associated with the outcome of the UK referendum in favor of leaving the EU, slow recovery in the advanced markets, monetary policy divergence among major central banks and heightened geopolitical tensions in various regions,” the government said, adding it will monitor the situation closely.
Domestic exports to the United Kingdom, which accounted for 2.2 percent of the total, plunged 48.2 percent in June.
Analysts have said Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore look the most vulnerable to a slowdown in Europe.
“We think the main channel through which Brexit could impact Asia will be via trade, with the UK likely to fall into a recession and euro zone economy slowing down,” Credit-Suisse wrote in a research note in June.
“Should the Brexit event result in a meaningful global growth slowdown, the economies which are most vulnerable will be the most export-oriented ones with limited policy space to respond to shocks. By these metrics, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Vietnam look most exposed, while China, India, and Indonesia should be more resilient,” Credit-Suisse said.
Hang Seng Bank (0011.HK) has revised Hong Kong’s economic growth lower to 1.3 percent for 2016, from 1.5 percent previously, amid increased uncertainty from Brexit.
Hong Kong’s imports from China in June rose 0.2 percent, while the value of total exports to China climbed 1.8 percent.
There have been concerns of massive fake trade invoicing from China to Hong Kong, following a big discrepancy in China’s reported exports to Hong Kong in December, and the value of goods recorded by the financial hub for the same period.
Editing by Jacqueline Wong