Hong Kong's exports recorded a second month of year-on-year growth in December after a year in decline, and economists expect more of the same as long as the US and European markets continue to strengthen. Total exports reached HK$224.8 billion last month, up 9.2 per cent from December 2008, according to Census and Statistics Department figures released yesterday. It was the second consecutive month of growth after total exports rose 1.3 per cent year-on-year in November. However, the sector was weak last year, with exports dropping 12.6 per cent in value from 2008. 'We believe the recent rise was primarily driven by growth in Asia,' Janus Chan, an economist with HSBC, said. 'The US and European economies are now improving, and if this is sustained it will be good news for Hong Kong exports.' Last month's export growth was mostly driven by telecommunications and sound-recording equipment, which constituted 26.4 per cent (HK$8.6 billion), while electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances constituted 17.3 per cent (HK$2.8 billion). The value of total exports of apparel and clothing accessories fell HK$2.8 billion or 16.4 per cent from the previous year. 'As global economies recover, markets with greater exposure to services and western consumption dynamics are now also starting to recover,' Glenn Maguire, an economist with Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking, said. 'Hong Kong clearly falls into the latter category,' he said. 'The key test of whether this dynamic is sustainable is when the monetary policy candy is taken from the liquidity-addicted mature markets.' Imports in December totalled HK$258.3 billion, up 18.7 per cent from the previous year after a year-on-year increase of 6.5 per cent in November. Analysts said the strong rebound in imports based on month-on-month growth showed that the recovery in domestic demand was still robust. A government spokesman said intraregional trade underpinned the rise in exports last month, and US and European markets were improving slowly.