A slump in consumer demand and the winding-down of key infrastructure projects caused a 14 per cent fall in the value of imports last month compared with the same period last year, the Government announced yesterday. The lower cost of imports due to of the devaluation of regional currencies could also have contributed to the fall, some economists said. Compared with December, imports dropped by nearly 18 per cent. Hongkong Bank economist George Leung Siu-kay said: 'The slump in consumer demand means that this is not a surprise.' The Government has been expecting a sharp slowdown in imports due to weaker local consumption and tourist spending. Mr Leung said a drop in imports for infrastructure projects, such as the new airport, would have also contributed. Hong Kong Trade Development Council assistant chief economist Mike Martin said it could also reflect a shift in the terms of trade. 'The volume of imports might be steady but because of the drop in price, the overall value figure is down.' He said there was inadequate data to establish an underlying trend. January trade figures are notoriously volatile because of the impact of Christmas and Lunar New Year. Exports were down 4 per cent last month with domestic exports dipping by more than 11 per cent and re-exports falling 3 per cent compared to the same month last year. Over three months imports fell 2.6 per cent, while exports rose 2.6 per cent.