HONG Kong export values are tipped to shrink 2% in 2020, according to the latest forecast by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Meanwhile, the HKTDC Export Index for the final quarter of 2019 hit a low of 18.8, down 8.6 points from the previous quarter.

HKTDC research director Nicholas Kwan attributed the decline of the city’s exports to a slowdown in the global economy along with the impact of the Sino-US trade dispute.

“The proliferation of protectionism into the broader economic and geopolitical arenas suggests a growing risk of a deep and protracted global slowdown,” Mr Kwan said.

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He said Hong Kong exporters were facing unprecedented pressure.

“Our survey found that 65% of local exporters anticipated a drop in their total sales in 2020,” he said. “The softening of global demand (37.3%) has overtaken Sino-US trade tensions (31.5%) to become their primary concern.”

HKTDC assistant principal economist (Greater China) Alice Tsang said the readings for all major industries stayed well below the key score of 50, indicating local exporters were increasingly pessimistic about the city’s export outlook.

“The trade conflict between the mainland and the US has adversely affected more than half of the exporters surveyed (56.5%),” Ms Tsang said.

“Most of them have suffered from fewer orders (70.8%), while a growing number of exporters (58.1%, up from 44.1% in the last quarter) experienced tougher price bargaining with buyers.”

Ms Tsang said more than one-third of respondents (37.9%) had explored business opportunities in alternative markets to reduce their reliance on the US. Hong Kong was Australia’s twelfth largest trading partner overall in 2017, with total two-way trade in goods and services worth $18.8 billion.

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