The value of total exports from Hong Kong last month jumped a year on year 18.2 per cent to HK$147 billion, bolstered by goods from China passing through the SAR. The value of re-exports surged 19.5 per cent to HK$129.7 billion, while domestic exports increased 9.1 per cent to HK$17.3 billion. 'China's export figures are quite impressive,' Dao Heng Bank senior economist Daniel Chan said. 'Also, the United States economy is very strong still so this has absorbed a lot of Hong Kong exports.' Chase Manhattan senior economist Daryl Ho Hon-kit said as much as 80 per cent of Hong Kong trade is still related directly or indirectly to China. 'The latter is driven by the favourable demand in the developed economies,' Mr Ho said. Mainland export figures have consistently grown this year, buoying the Hong Kong figure. The value of goods imported last month also soared, by 23.4 per cent year on year to HK$150.4 billion. A government spokesman said the robust export performance was 'underpinned by strong import absorption in all the major overseas markets'. 'Also, the intake of imports of goods for local use rose markedly further, reflecting the pick-up in domestic demand,' the spokesman said. For the first eight months of this year, the value of total exports of goods increased considerably, by 17.2 per cent year on year. Within this total, the value of re-exports increased by 18.5 per cent and domestic goods rose 8.3 per cent. But comparing the three-month period to the end of last month with the preceding three-month period on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports of goods decreased by 2.2 per cent. Within this, the values of re-exports decreased 1.4 per cent and the value of domestic exports decreased 8.1 per cent. Over the same period, the value of imported goods was down by 1.8 per cent. Chase's Mr Ho said one reason for the slight slow-down compared to the earlier months this year was that strong growth in the second half of last year and the first half of this year was based on the process of 'normalisation' of intra-regional trade following the Asian crisis. 'That normalisation process is now coming to an end,' Mr Ho said. He believes the better result for last month compared with the same month last year was also because of the move from post-crisis to more 'normal' trade since the last half of last year. Hong Kong's economy grew at 14.3 per cent year on year in the first quarter and 10.8 per cent in the second, with strong exports expected to guide the territory to a full recovery. With a global slow-down on the cards if the overheated US economy cools off, the Hong Kong Government has forecast GDP growth of between 4 and 6 per cent as the year progresses. Mr Ho added he expected year-on-year export growth to continue through the rest of this year with about a 10 per cent increase in exports by year-end.