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Traders cautious on outlook, but optimistic in new market opportunities: DHL Hong Kong report

The DHL Hong Kong Air Trade Leading Index (DTI) has published its results for Q4 2018.

The first indicator of its kind in Hong Kong, the DTI aims to provide a forward looking perspective on overall air export and import trade volumes by analysing key attributes of business demand.

Compiled quarterly, the DTI is based on a survey of more than 600 Hong Kong companies focusing on in- or out-bound air trading and was first conducted for Q2 2014.

Here are some of the main findings:

  • Despite being regarded traditionally as the peak season, overall trade outlook for Q4 2018 saw a downswing from the previous quarter, hampered by current trade tension between the United States and China. Despite this, air traders are optimistic due to new opportunities in Asia Pacific and the rest of the world
  • The most stable and positive segment for the quarter remains in Online Retailing, likely attributed to the lower-value items not being subject to additional tariffs.
  • Due to a drop in exports to many western markets, outlook for air exports is more cautiously conservative, compared to Q4 last year. However, traders expect that by relying less on China, exports will improve during what is regarded as an unstable period for traditional markets.
  • Key attributes remain stable as in the previous year, amid downturns in sales volume, product variety and shipment urgency. Inbound sales orders from China and the Americas remain at the same level as in Q4 2017, but this is tempered by a decrease in outbound sales to these two major markets.
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