· Total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year decreases, at 22.7% and 16.4% respectively in January. The value of total exports of goods fell to US$34.5 billion while the value of imports of goods decreased to US$38.4 billion. A visible trade deficit of US$3.9 billion, equivalent to 10.2% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded.
· Hong Kong recorded a surplus of US$9.6 billion in January, thereby bringing a cumulative year-to-date surplus of US$3.2 billion after receipt of net proceeds of US$1 billion from issuance of green bonds under the Government Green Bond Programme and repayment of institutional notes of US$192 million. Expenditure for the 10-month period amounted to US$59.2 billion and revenue US$61.6 billion).
· Total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$537.6 billion as at January 31. This is US$8.3 billion lower than that at the end of December. Hong Kong dollar assets decreased by US$6 billion and foreign currency assets decreased by US$2.3 billion. The Monetary Base rose by 1.6% to US$216.5 billion. Backing Assets increased by 1.4% US$240.2 billion.
· January’s retail sales value, provisionally estimated at US$4.8 billion, dropped by 21.4% year-on-year. The value of sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts dropped 41.6%. With the austere business environment of retail trade amid the threat of COVID-19, which has brought inbound tourism almost to a standstill and caused severe disruptions to consumption-related activities, the Government will closely monitor the situation and its repercussion on the overall economy and the employment market.