Hong Kong's foreign trade deficit increased sharply in December from last year, as exports fell faster than imports amid a challenging external environment and disruptions to cross-boundary land transportation, data from the Census and Statistics Department showed on Thursday.
The visible trade deficit rose to HK$51.646 billion from HK$32.753 billion in the same month last year. This was also much bigger than November's shortfall of HK$27.089 billion.
The visible trade gap of HK$51.6 billion was equivalent to 12.9 percent of the value of imports.
The annual decline in exports was 28.9 percent in December, following a 24.1 percent fall in November.
Imports also declined at a faster pace of 23.5 percent versus a 20.3 percent decrease in the prior month.
At the end of the year, exports to Asia as a whole dropped 29.2 percent. Within this, shipments to Japan plunged the most, by 39.3 percent, followed by Taiwan with a 34.4 percent decline.
Considering other major export destinations, shipments to Germany and the UK fell by 44.1 percent and 39.6 percent, respectively.
During the year 2022, total exports logged a negative growth of 8.6 percent over 2021, and imports slid by 7.2 percent. As a result, the trade gap widened to HK$395.8 billion from HK$347.1 billion.
"Hong Kong's export performance will continue to be adversely affected by weak global growth in the near term," a government spokesman said.
"Nonetheless, the gradual revival of cross-boundary land transportation after the recent relaxation of relevant restrictions should offset some of the pressure."