Global economy gathers steam

Despite a guarded global economic growth outlook last year, the world economy gathered steam in the first quarter of 2017.

“Export confidence was up with regard to all major markets. Of these, the United States saw the highest level of confidence in the first quarter of 2017 (50.3), followed closely by Japan (49.8) and the Chinese mainland (49.5).

“Coming in with 48.7, the European Union was the worst performer,” said Daniel Poon, HKTDC Principal Economist (Global Research).

Meanwhile, the events of Brexit and the threat of United States protectionism under the Trump administration failed to have much impact on export performance.

“Eighty-six per cent of respondents (83% for 3Q16) reported no impact so far from Brexit, while 13 per cent (17% for 3Q16) said it had caused a negative impact.

“Among those affected, most said they would respond by developing new markets, downsizing the company and hedging against counterpart default risk,” said Mr Poon.

“As for the likely impact from protectionism, 71 per cent of respondents said they expected no impact on their export performance, while 27 per cent said it would have a negative impact.

“Those affected said they would respond by boosting the development of markets outside the US, and by increasing the added value of the products to enhance competitiveness.”

Source: Hong Kong Trade Development Council

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