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Hong Kong's Balance of Payments and International Investment Position statistics for first quarter of 2020
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (June 22) the preliminary Balance of Payments (BoP) and International Investment Position (IIP) statistics of Hong Kong for the first quarter of 2020. This release also included the preliminary External Debt (ED) statistics of Hong Kong for the same period.

I.      Balance of Payments

​     Hong Kong recorded a BoP surplus of $25.8 billion (as a ratio of 3.9% to GDP) in the first quarter of 2020, as against a deficit of $10.3 billion (as a ratio of 1.4% to GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2019. Reserve assets correspondingly increased by the same amount ($25.8 billion) in the first quarter of 2020.

Current account

​     The current account recorded a deficit of $9.0 billion (as a ratio of 1.4% to GDP) in the first quarter of 2020, as against a surplus of $29.1 billion (as a ratio of 4.1% to GDP) in the same quarter of 2019. The drop in the current account balance was due to a decrease in the services surplus and a decrease in the net inflow of primary income, partly offset by a decrease in the goods deficit.

​     The goods deficit decreased to $50.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the $66.2 billion in the same quarter of 2019. Over the same period, the services surplus decreased to $32.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the $77.4 billion in the same quarter of 2019. The primary income inflow and outflow amounted to $346.1 billion and $330.0 billion respectively, thus yielding a net inflow of $16.0 billion in the first quarter of 2020, compared with a net inflow of $23.0 billion in the same quarter of 2019.

Financial account

​     An overall net inflow of financial non-reserve assets amounting to $64.2 billion (as a ratio of 9.7% to GDP) was recorded in the first quarter of 2020, as against an overall net outflow of $81.8 billion (as a ratio of 11.0% to GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2019. The overall net inflow recorded in the first quarter of 2020 was the result of a net inflow of portfolio investment and a net inflow of other investment, partly offset by a net outflow of direct investment and a net outflow due to the cash settlement of financial derivatives.

​     In the first quarter of 2020, reserve assets increased by $25.8 billion, as against a decrease of $10.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019.

II.    International Investment Position

​     At the end of the first quarter of 2020, both Hong Kong's external financial assets and liabilities stood at a very high level, amounting to $42,428.7 billion (equivalent to 15.0 times of GDP) and $30,313.5 billion (equivalent to 10.7 times of GDP) respectively, a typical feature of a prominent international financial centre. 

​     After netting out the external financial liabilities from the external financial assets, Hong Kong's net external financial assets amounted to $12,115.2 billion (equivalent to 4.3 times of GDP) at the end of the first quarter of 2020, compared with $12,171.7 billion (equivalent to 4.2 times of GDP) at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019. Hong Kong's net external financial assets to GDP ratio is one of the largest in the world, which provides the economy with a strong cushion against sudden external shocks.

III.   External Debt

​     At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Hong Kong's gross ED amounted to $13,086.0 billion (equivalent to 4.6 times of GDP).  Compared with $13,032.4 billion (equivalent to 4.5 times of GDP) at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, gross ED increased by $53.5 billion. This was mainly attributable to the increases in ED of the banking sector and other sectors, partly offset by the decrease in debt liabilities in direct investment (intercompany lending).

​     As one of the world's major financial centres, Hong Kong has a significant amount of ED held against the local banking sector arising through normal banking businesses. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, 61.4% of Hong Kong's ED was attributable to the banking sector. Other ED mainly consisted of ED of other sectors (23.6%) and debt liabilities in direct investment (intercompany lending) (14.7%).

Further information

​     BoP is a statistical statement that systematically summarises, for a specific time period (typically a year or a quarter), the economic transactions of an economy with the rest of the world (i.e. between residents and non-residents).

​     IIP is a balance sheet showing the stock of external financial assets and liabilities of an economy at a particular time point.  The difference between the external financial assets and liabilities is the net IIP of the economy, which represents either its net claim on or net liability to the rest of the world.

​     Gross ED, at a particular time point, is the outstanding amount of those actual current, and not contingent, liabilities that are owed to non-residents by residents of an economy and that require payment of principals and/or interests by the debtors at some time points in the future.

​     Table 1 presents Hong Kong's BoP. Table 2 presents the detailed current account, while Table 3 presents the detailed capital and financial account. Table 4 shows Hong Kong's IIP, and Table 5 shows Hong Kong's ED.

​     Statistics on BoP, IIP and ED for the first quarter of 2020 are only preliminary figures and are subject to revision upon the availability of more data.

​     More details of the statistics of BoP (including seasonally adjusted current account), IIP and ED, together with the conceptual and methodological details, are presented in the publication Balance of Payments, International Investment Position and External Debt Statistics of Hong Kong, First Quarter 2020 published by the C&SD. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp260.jsp?productCode=B1040001).

​     For enquiries about the BoP, IIP and ED statistics, please contact the Balance of Payments Section of the C&SD (Tel: 3903 6979; fax: 2116 0278; email: [email protected]).
 
Ends/Monday, June 22, 2020
Issued at HKT 16:30
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