- 20. März 2020
Life in Hong Kong almost back to normalIt may be hard to believe, but Anne Thiesen, Head of the Port of Hamburg Representation in Hong Kong, reports that the corona epidemic has been successfully contained and that control measures are exemplary.
People are behaving in a disciplined and careful manner. Everyone still wears masks. Life is almost back to normal despite schools still being closed. In order to prevent the recurrence of corona infections, every person entering the country is placed under a 14-day quarantine. People coming from risk areas, including Germany, must report to state institutions. Others have to install an app and indicate where their home is located.
In terms of the freight traffic, Hong Kong is mainly affected by a strong decline in air freight. Currently, about half of all Cathay Pacific’s aircraft remain on the ground. Prices for air and sea freight have risen due to reduction of capacities. The volume trend in container shipping depends on the economic recovery in the People’s Republic of China. There are already initial signs of recovery in South China: Manufacturers are picking up production; logistics companies and shippers welcome a decreasing number of “blank sailings” and are operating more ships in their liner services between Asia and Europe. Freight rates in both directions are practically equal at USD 3,000.
At present, it is still difficult to provide a prognosis for further developments in China, according to Anne Thiesen. There are only rough estimates. Official government figures show only a slight decline from pre-Corona levels: for example, the GDP declined by - 1.5 percent and could even end up at zero, depending on the course of the second half of the year. Figures for the foreign trade in January are available by the end of March, although a decline is firmly expected.
Whether this decline can still be compensated for in the course of the year depends on whether domestic consumption picks up again. Regarding first signs from e-Commerce that might well be. This will also be considerably influenced by how China’s important trading partners in Europe will recover from the corona crisis.
You can also find up-to-date information on how the individual market regions are affected on the German Chamber of Foreign Trade’s webpage