Hong Kong's economic growth slowed to 6.0% in the first quarter with exports holding firm and supported by strong trade inflows from China, the government said May 27. The better-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) was weaker than the 7.1% year-on-year rise in the previous quarter and 8.1% expansion for the whole of 2004.
Merchandise exports were strong in the first two months of 2005, but slowed in March as exports to several East Asian economies slackened along with intra-regional trade towards the end of the quarter, a Hong Kong government statement said. Although exports to Europe were robust partly due to a surge in exports of textiles and clothing from China, exports to the U.S. lost steam in March after growing in the first two months as import demand weakened.
Total exports of goods stood at 8.9% in the first quarter, a fall from a 12.6% increase in the fourth quarter of 2004 and a 15.3 % surge for 2004. Exports of services attained a further notable growth at 8.6% as offshore trade continued to surge and inbound tourism was buoyant.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005