Hong Kong: Despite strong trade figures growth is set to slow

5 min
Mahamoud Islam
Mahamoud Islam Senior Economist for Asia

Exports of the trade-oriented economy point to resilience. Nominal merchandise exports rose by +10% y/y in July (up from +3.3% y/y in June). Demand from mainland China (+12.8% y/y) and the U.S. (+10.1% y/y) was particularly strong. Imports accelerated by +14% y/y (up from +4.4% in June) with a broad-based increase for most major suppliers. Overall, these trade figures are good news considering how disappointing the second quarter was. Real GDP growth slowed down markedly to +3.5% y/y in Q2 from +4.6% in Q1. Moreover, leading indicators pointed to weak growth in activity in July. For example, the Manufacturing PMI came in at 48.2 points, remaining below the 50.0 threshold (which separates contraction from growth territory) for the fourth consecutive month. Looking ahead, we expect quarterly GDP growth to slow further but remain in expansion territory. We forecast full-year growth of +3.3% in 2018 (down from +3.8% in 2017).