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New series of merchandise trade index numbers

     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) today (March 12) released the new series of merchandise trade index numbers compiled using the chain linking approach with annual re-weighting and re-referencing to replace the previous trade index numbers compiled using the Laspeyres method with a fixed base year. The new series provides a better measure of the growth of trade aggregates in real terms.

     The previous method only updated the base period once every several years. Under the new calculation method of chain linking with annual re-weighting and re-referencing, the price structure is however updated every year.

     In introducing this methodology enhancement, the real growth rate of total exports for 2014 was revised slightly downwards from 2.1% to 1.5%, and for 2013, from 2.8% to 2.7%. During the same periods, the real growth rate of imports was also revised slightly downwards from 2.8% to 2.3% and from 3.9% to 3.6% respectively. A relatively more significant revision was observed for the real growth rates of imports (from 10.4% to 8.8%) and total exports (from 8.3% to 6.8%) for 2007 due to volatility in the price and volume movements of some trade sub-classes. A comparison of the revised growth rates of trade aggregates based on the chain linking approach against previously published figures based on the fixed base approach is given in Table 1.

     In order to maintain the comparability of the time series data, backdating of the historical series of trade aggregates and its components back to 2001 based on the new calculation method was made.

     A government spokesman remarked that some statistically advanced economies had adopted the chain linking approach in the compilation of trade index numbers. In implementing the new calculation method for the trade index numbers, it provided a better measure of the real growth rate of trade aggregates.

     More details on the new series of trade index numbers will be published in a feature article in the March 2015 issue of Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics. Enquiries about trade index numbers may be directed to the Trade Analysis Section (1) of the C&SD (Tel: 2582 4914; email:

Ends/Thursday, March 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:31


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