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Hong Kong Trade Gap Widens

Hong Kong's foreign trade deficit in February increased from a year ago, with the decline in exports outpacing the fall in imports, data from the Census and Statistics Department showed on Tuesday.

The visible trade deficit widened to HK$48.8 billion in February form HK$42,7 billion in the same month of the previous year. Economists had predicted a shortfall of HK$40.5 billion.

Exports fell 6.9 percent year-on-year in February after a 0.4 percent decline in January. Meanwhile, the value of imports fell 3.8 percent, following a 6.0 percent drop in the previous month.

Economists had expected a 2.4 percent slump in exports and a 4.4 percent decline in imports.

"Similar to the situations in many other Asian economies, Hong Kong's merchandise exports remained weak in early 2019, dampened by easing global economic growth and the US-Mainland trade tensions," a government spokesman said.

"Taking the first two months of 2019 together to remove the effect from the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, the value of merchandise exports decreased by 3.1 percent over a year earlier, the spokesman added.

The Hong Kong government expects the external trading environment to remain challenging in the near term, thanks to lingering uncertainties regarding the US-China trade talks, slowing global growth and Brexit.

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