Vietnam and India lead Hong Kong's export growth

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 6:07pm

Vietnam and India may replace Japan and Germany in the rankings of Hong Kong's top five trading partners by 2030 if the city's exports to the two countries continue to grow at their current pace.

HSBC said yesterday that while the mainland and North America would remain the city's biggest markets for many years to come, Vietnam and India would be the driver of Hong Kong's export growth in the next three years, which the bank forecasts at 11 per cent per annum

Terence Chiu, head of trade for Hong Kong and Macau at HSBC, said: "Hong Kong exported a lot of electronic goods, garments and shoes to Vietnam; as for India it is mainly [gold products] and jewellery. But the two fastest growing export items to China are industrial machinery and information and communication technology products." Demand for industrial machinery has increased in the past few years as escalating wages and labour shortages on the mainland forced many manufacturers to replace their workforce with machines.

Hong Kong exported a lot of electronic goods, garments and shoes to Vietnam; as for India it is mainly gold products and jewellery

According to the trade forecast report published by HSBC yesterday, Hong Kong's exports to Vietnam are expected to grow at an average rate of 20 per cent per annum over the next three years, before slowing to an annual growth rate of 10 per cent from 2015 to 2020. Exports to India are expected to grow at 10 per cent per annum until 2020.

The Hong Kong Jewellery and Jade Manufacturers Association said earlier this month that India became the third-largest destination for Hong Kong's jewellery exports last year, with an export value of HK$4.9 billion. Statistics from the Trade and Development Council show that the export value of precious stones to India jumped by more than half each year from 2006 to 2011.

Last month, the value of Hong Kong's merchandise exports rose by 17.6 per cent to HK$304.8 billion, maintaining a steady rebound since November last year.

Growth is expected to slow in February, as the Lunar New Year holiday, during which most shops are closed, fell at the beginning of the month. But Chiu said trade volume for the first two months should still outperform that in the same period last year, as US and European retailers who were being overcautious in placing orders last year are running out of stock amid a recovering economy.

This story was updated on February 27 to correct description of Vietnam's and India's contribution to Hong Kong's export growth in the 2nd paragraph, and to correct name of Terence Chiu, head of trade for Hong Kong and Macau at HSBC