The German port of Hamburg reported a 10.4 per cent rise in container traffic to 3.33 million teu (20 ft equivalent units) last year. The port said the Asian economic crisis had resulted in business from the region falling to 1.67 million teu, a drop of about 7 per cent in throughput. Despite the decline, Asia is still Hamburg's most important region. 'The probable short-term effect of the Asian crisis will be stagnation in outgoing Far Eastern traffic,' the port said. It said it was impossible to predict whether this would be compensated for by increased imports from the region due to the depreciation of Asian currencies. China was the port's most important trading partner last year, accounting for about 450,000 teu, followed by Singapore with more than 400,000 teu. 'The US dollar's spectacular rise against European currencies in the first half of 1997 brought huge increases in eastward-bound shipments to Asia,' the port said. However, it said the Asian export boom slowed down in the latter half of the year, while imports from the region picked up. The port said there was uncertainty about future economic developments in leading industrialised nations, and subsequently, the short-term prospects for world trade. Container traffic growth with European countries registered a 15 per cent overall rise to over one million teu. The highest growth rates were recorded by feeder traffic to and from Finnish and Swedish ports, with 17 per cent and 15 per cent increases in trade respectively. The port said the growth of Hamburg's container turnover were due to its good hinterland connections.