From the Wires
Marginal Growth Likely for Hong Kong Exporters in 2013
Dec. 7, 2012 05:17 AM
HKTDC Research Launches Integrated Multimedia Portal
Hong Kong, Dec 7, 2012 - (ACN Newswire) - Hong Kong exporters face a number of challenges in the coming year, including the possibility of a renewed downturn in the global economy, increased protectionism, and escalating geopolitical tensions, notably with respect to the territorial flare-up between the Chinese mainland and Japan. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) expects that Hong Kong exports in 2013 will grow by four per cent in value and just one per cent in volume.
Speaking today at a press conference, HKTDC Director of Research Edward Leung said that global trade is expected to improve only marginally in 2013. He noted that the HKTDC Export Index had dropped for the second consecutive quarter, to 31.6 in the fourth quarter. The HKTDC Export Index is designed to monitor the export performance of Hong Kong traders and gauge their near-term prospects. A reading below 50 indicates a pessimistic sentiment during the quarter and signals a contraction in Hong Kong exports over the short term.
"All major industries recorded readings below the watershed of 50, though the sentiment for timepieces and machinery exporters improved," Mr Leung said. "Exporters remained pessimistic towards all major markets. The index for the mainland edged down slightly, to about 45, while the index for the US increased slightly, to 40.8."
With production costs on the mainland, particularly labour costs, likely to stay high, the confidence level of Hong Kong exporters remains low. The biggest threat to Hong Kong's export outlook, however, is a renewed downturn of the global economy caused by the European Union's debt crisis. Mr Leung said that any major shock in the Eurozone could have profound effects on the global economic and trade environment.
Mr Leung cautioned that the world economy will grow slowly next year, probably at a rate slightly higher than that of this year. "Developed economies will see growth in a slower lane, inevitably putting a drag on emerging economies. Yet emerging economies will continue to fare relatively better," he added.
The mainland will continue to be the bright spot in the global economy, according to Mr Leung. "The Chinese economy is bottoming out, and there are some short-term measures to stimulate private consumption. In the longer run, income re-distribution measures will also help to raise consumption on the mainland."
He noted that abundant business opportunities existed in developing Asia, especially India and Indonesia. "These markets are large in size, strong in growth and making headway in reforms and liberalisation," he said.
Despite political unrest in the Middle East, business in Dubai has not been adversely affected. "Money from neighbouring countries continues to flow into Dubai, which plays an important hub role for capital and trade flows," said Mr Leung. As for Africa, countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya offer long-term potential for Hong Kong business, he added.
Still, the best prospects remain in Asia, according to Mr Leung. "Our manufacturers and traders should look to developing sales on the mainland," he said. "Beyond the Chinese mainland, we should diversify to other new markets. We cannot ignore the long-term potential offered in the new markets of Africa."
"More capable manufacturers and traders should commit additional resources to developing brands, either by organic growth or acquisitions," he added. "Others should place more emphasis on design and maintain consistent good quality. To lower production costs, they can look to automation or even relocation, not just within the mainland but also to Myanmar and other Asian countries."
Down the China Road
The press conference also included video interviews with two high-profile economists. Professor Justin Lin, the former World Bank Chief Economist, said that the mainland has the potential to grow eight per cent annually over the next 20 years.
Professor Francis Lui, Head of Economics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, added that the rising economic power of Guangdong Province could help both Hong Kong and Guangdong better understand their competitive advantages.
The webcast interviews with Professor Lin and Professor Lui are available at http://www.hktdc.com/info/webcast/v/en/en/1X04BKFX/ and http://www.hktdc.com/info/webcast/v/en/en/1X04BKGW/
The multimedia intelligence service HKTDC Research ( www.hktdc.com/Research ) was also launched at the press conference.
"Mobile devices have changed the way people, and companies, access information," said Mr Leung. "To better serve Hong Kong SMEs, the HKTDC is also adapting to this trend through its new multimedia research portal."
The site contains more than 50,000 articles, categorised into seven areas: Economists' Picks, China Trade, Hong Kong Economy, Developed Markets, Emerging Markets, Products and Services. "Unlike our print reports, the new online content features shorter articles, allowing users to download individual chapters or sections. More multimedia content has been incorporated to enhance interactivity," Mr Leung added.
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 11 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com . Follow us on Twitter @HKTDC.
Corporate Communication Department
Tel: +852 2584 4216
Copyright 2012 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.