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Belt and Road

Belt and Road provides exporters with a brief analysis of political and economic risks for the countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Flag and map of Madagascar

 
Key Information
Capital   Antananarivo
Population   25.1 million
Area   592,000 sq km
Currency   Ariary (1 MGA = 0.0003 USD as of 7 May 2019)
Official language   Malagasy, French
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 161 out of 190 in 2019 (↑1) 
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 128 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Nickel and cobalt (13.7%)   Capital goods (14.3%)
Cloves (5.7%)   Raw materials (14.1%)
Titanium ore and zirconium (2.3%)   Consumer goods (12.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
France (23.8%)   China (22.7%)
USA (19.6%)   UAE (8.3%)
Germany (7.5%)   India (8.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Madagascar is a unitary republic with president serves as the head of the state. The current president, Andry Rajoelina, took office in January 2019. It was the first time in the history of Madagascar since its independence that a democratic power transfer and a peaceful power transition took place. Christian Ntsay was reappointed as prime minister in January 2019 as the head of the government. The legislature is a National Assembly with 151 seats. Political stability remains fragile as the parliament was dissolved pending for new legislative elections to be held in late-May 2019. Of the 151 seats, 87 will be elected from single-member constituencies, using a first-past-the-post voting system. The remaining 64 seats will be filled using 32 two-seat constituencies, voted for using a party-list system with proportional representation. On 26 April, President Andry Rajoelina has postponed a constitutional referendum that was to be held alongside with the legislative election. The referendum proposes two major changes to the constitution including the abolition of the Senate and the devolution of new powers to enhanced regional governorships.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Madagascar, a country in southern Africa located in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique, is the fifth largest island in the world. The country produces acound 80% of the world’s vanilla. Its economic strength is based on the agricultural sector, including fishing and forestry, which represents about 25% of GDP and employs around 80% of the population in 2017. Economic growth accelerated in 2018, driven by a recovery in agriculturewhich the output has been recovering from drought, cyclones and flood in previous years. However, government revenue and spending remains heavily relied on donor aid. In 2016, IMF approved a 40-month arrangement for US$347mn Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which aimed to support the country’s effort to reinforce macro stability and boost sustained and inclusive growth. As a low-income country with an open economy, the country remains vulnerable to external shocks.

Hong Kong – Madagascar Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Madagascar increased by 2.9% from HK$ 310 million in 2017 to HK$ 319 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Madagascar were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-15.9%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+19.1%), and (3) machinery specialized for particular industries (+78.3%), which represented 64.3% of total exports to Madagascar.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Madagascar buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Madagascar.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 7 May 2019       

Flag and map of Luxembourg

 
Key Information
Capital   Luxembourg City
Population   0.6 million
Area   2,586 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11877 USD as of 6 May 2019)
Official language   Luxembourgish, French and German
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 66 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 19 out of 140 in 2018 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 24 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (84.1%)   Manufactured products (74.5%)
Agricultural products (9.1%)   Agricultural products (13.1%)
Fuel and mining products (4.4%)   Fuel and mining products (12.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Germany (28.2%)   Belgium (34.1%)
Belgium (19.2%)   Germany (26.6%)
France (15.7%)   France (12.2%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO) 

Political Highlights

 

Luxembourg is a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy, with hereditary succession in the Nassau family. The head of state is Grand Duke Henri, since the abdication of his father Grand Duke Jean in 2000. The Luxembourg population elects the 60 members of parliament (Chamber of Deputies) through a universal, proportional suffrage for a five-year term. Following the general election held in October 2018, the three-party governing coalition of the centre-right Democratic Party (DP) and two left-of-centre parties, the Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Greens, remained in office. The coalition parties won 31 out of the 60 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and continue to be led by Xavier Bettel of the DP as prime minister. The next general election is scheduled to be held in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Luxembourg has benefited from strong growth in recent years compared with other developed countries, supported by sound economic policies and favorable global conditions. Its GDP per capita is one of the highest among the sovereigns. The financial and business services sectors are Luxembourg's key industries, supporting its role as a financial hub and contributing to its prosperity. According to the IMF in March 2019, real GDP growth is projected to remain robust in 2019, notwithstanding some deceleration over the medium term reflecting weaker global economic prospects. In March 2019, S&P s affirmed its 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Luxembourg. The rating outlook is stable. The ratings on Luxembourg reflect its prosperous economy, transparent and effective institutional framework, prudent budgetary policies, and recurrent external surpluses.

Hong Kong – Luxembourg Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Luxembourg increased by 46.9% from HK$383 million in 2017 to HK$ 563 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Luxembourg were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+71.0%), (2) other transport equipment (+1372.2%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (-41.6%), which represented 75.5% of total exports to Luxembourg.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Luxembourg buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on South Africa decreased by 51.0% and 75.1% respectively, and insured business decreased by 3.6%. Major insured products were toys, artificial flowers and clothing, which represented 85.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Luxembourg. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Luxembourg has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty cases in the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), involving clothing.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 6 May 2019

            
Flag and map of Barbados

 
Key Information
Capital   Bridgetown
Population   0.28 million
Area   731 sq km
Currency   Barbados dollar (pegged to the US dollar at BBD 2:USD 1)
Official language   English
Form of government   Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 129 out of 190 in 2019 (↑3)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2015*)
Chemicals (15.7%)   Food & beverages (22.0%)
Rum (15.6%)   Fuel (16.3%)
Other food & beverages (12.8%)   Chemicals (5.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (25.8%)   USA (39.6%)
Trinidad and Tobago (7.5%)   Trinidad and Tobago (16.8%)
Jamaica (5.9%)   China (5.8%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Barbados is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. It is a member country of The Commonwealth, recognizing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and she is represented by a governor-general. The governor-general appoints the leader of the largest party in parliament as prime minister. The legislature is bicameral consisting of the 21-member Senate (upper house) and 30-member House of Assembly (lower house). In the general election held in May 2018, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won all 30 seats in the lower house. Mia Mottley, the leader of the BLP, took office as prime minister for a five-year term. She is the first female prime minister since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.The next general election is due to be held in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Barbados economy, formerly a sugar monoculture, was developed over three decades to achieve a balance of growth and social development, and diversified into three main sectors: services, light industry and sugar. The offshore financial services sector, launched in 1985, has become the country’s second biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism. However, the global financial crisis led to a prolonged recession in Barbados, with a decade of low growth, and fiscal and external imbalances have gradually deepened. External imbalances have gradually led to an unsustainable situation, with very high debt, and very low reserves. The new government, which took office in May 2018, has committed to fiscal consolidation and structural reform as key tools for macroeconomic adjustment. The economy remained in recession in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is a result of the government's fiscal policy tightening, as well as weak consumption and investor sentiments, along with structural economic deficiencies. In November 2018, S&P raised its long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on Barbados to 'B-/B' from 'SD/SD' (Selective Default). In its latest statement, S&P noted that Barbados’ new administration has completed its local currency debt exchange, initiated an economic recovery plan, and received approval from multilateral lending institutions for new sources of financing.

Hong Kong – Barbados Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Barbados increased by 6.2% from HK$10.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 11.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Barbados were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-57.9%), (2) prefabricated buildings; sanitary, plumbing, heating and lighting fixtures and fittings (+269.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+2351.2%), which represented 60.7% of total exports to Barbados.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Barbados buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Barbados has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 May 2019

           
Flag and map of Montenegro

 
Key Information
Capital   Podgorica
Population   0.61 million
Area   13,812 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1310 USD as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Montenegrin
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 50 out of 190 in 2019 (↓8)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 71 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 77 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Manufactured goods (excl machinery & equipment) (28.0%)   Machinery & equipment (24.0%)
Raw materials (excl fuel) (27.6%)   Food, beverages & tobacco (21.9%)
Food, beverages & tobacco (12.6%)   Manufactured goods (excl machinery & equipment) (17.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Serbia (17.7%)   Serbia (21.5%)
Bosnia and Hercegovina (12.7%)   China (9.6%)
Hungary (8.5%)   Germany (8.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Montenegro became an independent sovereign state from the former Union of Serbia and Montenegro following a referendum in 2006. The President is the head of state elected by universal sufferage for a five- year term. Curent president, Milo Djukanovic sworn in for his second term in May 2018, returing to a post he held between 1998-2002 when Montenegro was in a state union with Serbia. He was the leader of political party Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and has served as prime minister six times in the past 25 years. The legislature is a unicameral assembly with 81 seats. In October 2016, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and his ruling DPS formed a narrow majority with just 42 of the 81 seats in parliament backed by Social Democrats of Montenegro (SD) and various small ethnic minority parties. Political tensions remained high as Markovic has continued Djukanovic’s push for the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Front (DF), is pro-Russian and against the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Next parliamentary election is due to be held in October 2020, and presidential election in April 2023.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate  
Source: International Monetary Fund


Montenegro is a small open economy which relies on tourism and capital inflows from abroad. Economic growth rates were above 4% in 2017 and 2018 on the back of robust consumer demand and the implementation of large investment projects, including the construction of the Bar-Boljare Highway (a three-phase project to connect Montenegro and Serbia). However, the implementation of mega infrastructure projects has contributed to high budget deficits and rising government debt. The current account deficit is largely due to the rising construction-related imports. According to the European Commission, Montenegro’s economy is forecast to slow to 2.8% and 3.1% in 2019 and 2020 respectively, mainly affected by declining investment.

In March 2019, S&P affirmed Montenegro’s outlook as stable, maintaining its B+/B rating. S&P said many activities in the tourism and energy sector contributed to the economic growth. The country’s credit potential is also strengthened by the prospect of joining the European Union, which is accompanied by the strengthening of institutions.

Hong Kong – Montenegro Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Montenegro decreased by 12.8% from HK$51.4 million in 2017 to HK$44.8 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Montenegro were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-32.4%), (2) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+82.9%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+54.5%), which represented 91.7% of total exports to Montenegro.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Montenegrin buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC) with exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Montenegro.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 April 2019          

Flag and map of Slovakia

 
Key Information
Capital   Bratislava
Population   5.4 million
Area   49,037 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1310 USD as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Slovak
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 42 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 41 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 53 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (59.1%)   Machinery & transport equipment (48.6%)
Chemicals & related products (4.4%)   Chemicals & related products (9.0%)
Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (4.4%)   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (8.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (20.6%)   Germany (19.8%)
Czech Republic (11.6%)   Czech Republic (16.6%)
Poland (7.8%)   Austria (10.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The Slovak Republic (Slovakia) emerged as a parliamentary republic following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993. The president is the head of state elected directly for a five- year term and a maximum of two consecutive terms. On 22 March 2018, President Andrej Kiska appointed Peter Pellegrini from the ruling Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) as prime minister after Robert Fico resigned the position in wake of biggest protests in three decades. The legislature is a national council with 150 members elected for a four-year term by direct universal suffrage. In March 2019, Zuzana Caputova won the presidential election, making the nation’s first female president. She will take office in June 2019 and the next legislative election is due to be held in March 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Slovakia is a small open economy with its large concentration in automotive manufacturing. Taking the advantage of its free access to markets in Western Europe, Slovakia has been successful in bringing foreign investment to the country, especially in automotive industry. The country produced more than one million automotives for the fourth consecutive year in 2018. The country was supported by strong credit and jobs growth, with GDP expanded by about 3% annually during the last five years taking both the unemployment rate and the fiscal deficit to their lowest levels ever. On the external front, rising trade protectionism constitutes the main downside risk for the country with its large concentration in automotive manufacturing. In Jan 2019, Fitch affirmed Slovakia’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at A+ with a stable outlook. The rating reflected its sound macro-economic performance, supported by sustained, foreign capital inflows and European Union and Eurozone membership.

Hong Kong – Slovakia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Slovakia increased by 8.2% from HK$ 1.99 billion in 2017 to HK$ 2.15 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Slovakia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.9%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-4.5%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+5.3%), which represented 87.0% of total exports to Slovakia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Slovakia buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Slovakia decreased 17.4% and 28.8% respectively, and insured business also decreased by 9.6%. Major insured products were electronics, metallic products and electrical appliances, which represented 95.5% of HKECIC’s insured business on Slovakia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Slovakia has been satisfactory with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 April 2019      

Flag and map of Vanuatu

 
Key Information
Capital   Port Vila
Population   0.28 million
Area   12,190 sq km
Currency   Vatu (1 USD = 113.678 VUV as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Bislama, English, French
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 94 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Australia (7.8%)   Australia (19.6%)
New Caledonia (6.5%)   New Zealand (9.8%)
USA (4.9%)   China (6.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Vanuatu is a parliamentary republic with a non-executive presidency. The president is elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of members of parliament and heads of local government. Tallis Obed Moses was elected to succeed Baldwin Lonsdale as president in July 2017, following Lonsdale’s death. The national legislature is the single chamber parliament with 52 members, directly elected every four years by universal adult suffrage with an element of proportional representation. The last parliamentary election was held in January 2016 and Charlot Salwai was elected prime minister in February 2016. The next parliamentary and presidential elections are due by 2020 and 2022 respectively.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Vanuatu economy is based on agriculture, fishing, tourism and offshore financial services. It is a small island developing state and a low-income country. The country is the world's most at-risk country for natural disasters according to the UN World Risk Index. In 2015, Cyclone Pam smashed into the islands of Vanuatu, causing widespread devastation and leaving 75,000 people homeless. Real GDP growth rebounded to 3.5% in 2016 from 0.2% in 2015, driven by recovery in tourism and agriculture combined with scaling-up of infrastructure. The recovery further propelled economic growth in 2017, while growth slowed in 2018 as the reconstruction efforts are near completion.

Hong Kong – Vanuatu Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Vanuatu decreased by 15.6% from HK$47.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 40.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Vanuatu were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-30.5%), (2) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+1550.7%), and (3) special transactions and commodities not classified according to kind (+79.4%), which represented 77.1% of total exports to Vanuatu.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Vanuatu buyers. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Vanuatu.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 April 2019

           
Flag and map of Cook Islands

 
Key Information
Capital   Avarua
Population   9,038
Area   236 sq km
Currency   New Zealand Dollar (1 NZD = 0.6773 USD as of 15 April 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Self-governing parliamentary democracy

Source: Central Intelligence Agency

Political Highlights

 

Cook Islands are made up of 15 volcanic islands and coral atolls located about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Cook Islands had long been a British Protectorate and became a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand in 1965. The territory administers its own affairs but that Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens who are free to live and work in New Zealand. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, represented by the prime minister who is the head of government. Henry Puna has been the territory’s prime minister since 2010 after his Cook Islands Party won a comfortable majority in elections. The parliament is unicameral and consists of 25 members elected by popular vote.

 

Economic Trend

Cook Islands’ economic development faces constraints like many other South Pacific island nations, including lack of natural resources, limited size of domestic markets and inadequate infrastructure. Its economy is dominated by tourism which makes up about 60% of its GDP. Despite strong growth in tourism arrivals in recent years, the industry faces growing accommodation capacity constraints. Besides, around 80% of the visitors are from New Zealand and Australia, making Cook Islands vulnerable to economic cycles of these two countries.

The economy is also reliant on financial assistance from a number of countries such as New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan. In particular, New Zealand works with Cook Islands in upgrading the latter’s infrastructure, growing sustainable tourism, and supporting initiatives that strengthen the public sector and improve education, health and social services. In December 2018, Cook Islands received NZD 13 million grant contribution towards supporting asset management from New Zealand.

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Cook Islands buyers. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Cook Islands.


Last update: 15 April 2019

       
Flag and map of Serbia

 
Key Information
Capital   Belgrade
Population   7.0 million
Area   77,474 sq km
Currency   Serbian dinar (1 USD = 104.675 RSD as of 11 April 2019)
Official language   Serbian
Form of government   Democratic republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 48 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 65 out of 140 in 2018 (↑5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 65 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery, apparatus & transport articles (28.0%)   Machinery, apparatus & transport articles (25.2%)
Manufactured goods (23.6%)   Manufactured goods (18.6%)
Food (13.5%)   Chemical products (14.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Italy (13.2%)   Germany (12.9%)
Germany (12.5%)   Italy (10.2%)
Bosnia and Hercegovina (8.0%)   China (8.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Serbia is a multiparty democracy. The national legislature is a unicameral parliament, which is the National Assembly with 250 seats. The president is elected by popular suffrage to a five-year term. Prime minister, the head of the government, is appointed by the president with the consent of the parliament. In the snap parliamentary election in April 2016, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won a majority of 131 seats and formed a government in August 2016. The political environment has been unstable in recent months due to the ongoing anti-government protests since December 2018. However, according to the EIU, the government is expected to remain secure, as the opposition remains weak and divided. The next parliamentary election is due in April 2020, and presidential election in 2022. Yet, Aleksandar Vucic who became prime minister in 2014 and president in 2017, has floated the idea of early elections after months of opposition protests.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of Serbia continued to grow strongly with estimated growth of 4.4% in 2018, supported by the recovery of private consumption and robust foreign direct investments and exports. The government stepped up the implementation of structural reforms, broadening the focus to include social sector transformation. In December 2018, Standard and Poor’s affirmed Serbia’s long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at 'BB/B'. The rating outlook was changed from stable to positive. The ratings on Serbia are supported by its educated workforce, the favorable outlook for foreign direct investment, and the government's commitment to operating primary budgetary surpluses, while constrained by its relatively low wealth levels and still-high general government debt burden.

Hong Kong – Serbia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Serbia increased by 33.8% from HK$811 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,086 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Serbia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+36.5%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-1.9%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (-13.4%), which represented 78.4% of total exports to Serbia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Serbia buyers, with the exception of those under sanctions. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Serbia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 April 2019

           
Flag and map of Lebanon

 
Key Information
Capital   Beirut
Population   6.1 million
Area   10,452 sq km
Currency   Lebanese pound (Pegged to the USD at 1 USD = 1,507.5 LBP)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 142 out of 190 in 2019 (↓9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 80 out of 140 in 2018 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 70 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufacturing goods (40.5%)   Manufacturing goods (51.5%)
Agricultural products (16.9%)   Agricultural products (17.9%)
Fuels and mining products (6.3%)   Fuels and mining products (14.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
South Africa (21.1%)   European Union (40.4%)
European Union (11.2%)   China (11.2%)
Saudi Arabia (9.0%)   USA (6.3%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Lebanon is a parliamentary republic. Muslim and Christian are the two main religious groups of the country, taking up about 90% of the population. The Muslims are themselves divided between the Sunni Muslim and the Shia Muslim, with each of them taking up about one quarter of the population. The president is the head of state and must be a Maronite Christian, who is elected by the parliament for a six-year term. In 2016, the country’s parliament elected Michel Aoun as president, ending a political stand-off that has left the post empty for more than two years. The president appoints the prime minister in consultation with the parliament. The country adopts a unicameral National Assembly with 128 seats, which are equally divided between Muslims and Christians. The last parliamentary election took place in May 2018 and a new coalition government headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri was formed in January 2019.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


The Lebanese economy is primarily based on the services sector, including banking, tourism and financial services as well as reliant on financial support from the Gulf Arab countries. Over the past few years, the country showed decelerating economic growth amid the long-lasting civil war in neighboring Syria and conflicts on national politics. According to the World Bank, up to 1.5 million Syrians (about a quarter of the Lebanese population) have taken refuge in Lebanon since the conflict erupted in March 2011. The influx of refugees has put heavy pressure on the government’s public finances which were already weak. Remarkably, Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratios. Macroeconomic conditions remain challenging for the country in the medium term.

On 1 March 2019, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s revised the outlook on Lebanon to negative from stable, while affirmed its 'B-/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings. The negative outlook reflects the risk that a lack of material reforms to reduce the budget deficit will see investor confidence wane. The ratings on Lebanon also reflect its sizable fiscal and external deficits and very high and rising public debt levels.

.

 

Hong Kong – Lebanon Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Lebanon decreased by 0.2% from HK$424 million in 2017 to HK$423 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Lebanon were: (1) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-3.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+33.2%), and (3) footwear (-13.4%), which represented 51.5% of total exports to Lebanon.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Lebanese buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Lebanon.

Please clickhere to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 9 April 2019

       
Flag and map of Qatar

 
Key Information
Capital   Doha
Population   2.6 million
Area   11,521 sq km
Currency   Qatari riyal (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 3.64 QAR)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 83 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 30 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 30 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (83.0%)   Manufactured goods (78.6%)
Manufactured goods (7.6%)   Agricultural products (10.4%)
Agricultural products (0.2%)   Fuels and mining products (6.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Japan (17.1%)   USA (16.9%)
South Korea (15.8%)   China (11.4%)
India (12.3%)   Germany (6.9%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Qatar is a monarchy wherein the emir is both the country's head of state and head of government. The country has been ruled by the Al-Thani family since it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971. The Consultative Assembly is the legislative body made up of 45 members (30 elected members and 15 appointed members). Members of the assembly who are elected serve for four-year renewable terms while appointed members by the monarch serve for unlimited terms.

On the diplomatic front, Qatar has been locked in a diplomatic crisis since June 2017, as several countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties and closed their air routes as well as land and sea borders with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. Qatar has strengthened military ties with Turkey since then. The two countries signed a number of agreements on transportation, trade and economy in November 2018.  On 1 January 2019, Qatar left the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The country’s energy minister said the withdrawal decision reflected Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural-gas production.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Qatar is located in the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is an oil-based economy with the hydrocarbon sector accounting for nearly 85% of its export earnings and 50% of government revenues. It is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. However, proven oil reserves in the country could only afford production to continue at current level for around 50 years. In February 2019, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) launched new initiatives to push forward economic diversification, including promoting Qatar as a natural hub for innovative digital, media, sports, and financial services thus providing a solid basis for foreign direct investments in those growing fields. The QFC has also put in place an attractive incentives programme to attract multinational companies to Qatar by offering free offices, highly-competitive tax incentives, etc.

In December 2018, S&P affirmed Qatar’s long and short-term sovereign credit ratings at 'AA-/A-1+' with rating outlook changed from negative to stable, reflecting S&P’s review that Qatar will continue to effectively mitigate the economic and financial fallout of the boycott imposed on the country in June 2017 by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and that Qatar will continue to pursue prudent macroeconomic policies that support large recurrent fiscal and external surpluses over 2018-2021.
 

Hong Kong – Qatar Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Qatar increased by 74.1% from HK$1,417 million in 2017 to HK$2,467 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Qatar were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+108.5%), (2) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+70.9%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+10.4%), which represented 41.3% of total exports to Qatar.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Qatar. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 54.8% and increased by 32.9% respectively, while insured business increased by 29.9%. Major insured products were chemical products, metallic products and electrical appliances, which represented 73.2% of HKECIC’s insured business on Qatar. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Qatar has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 27 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Croatia

 
Key Information
Capital   Zagreb
Population   4.3 million
Area   56,594 sq km
Currency   Croatian Kuna (1 HRK = 0.1530 USD or 0.1348 EUR as of 20 March 2019)
Official language   Croatian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 58 out of 190 in 2019 (↓7) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 68 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 49 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machines & transport equipment (23.2%)   Machines & transport equipment (25.4%)
Manufactured material (16.1%)   Chemical products (13.8%)
Manufactured products (15.4%)   Mineral fuels & lubricants (13.3%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Italy (13.7%)   Germany (15.4%)
Serbia (12.4%)   Italy (12.9%)
Slovenia (10.8%)   Slovenia (10.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Croatia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. It is a parliamentary republic with president serves as the head of the state, elected for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The current president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, took office in February 2015. The legislature is a unicameral Hrvatski sabor (parliament) with 160 seats. The president nomintes the prime minister, who leads the the government. In June 2017, current prime minister, Andrej Plenkovic and his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) managed to avoid an early election after the collapse of the collation government with Most ("Bridge") party, by forming a new coalition government with Croatian People's Party (HNS). The next parliamentary election will be held in 2020, and presidential election in 2019-20.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Coratia is the eighth-smallest country in the European Union (EU) in terms of population but the country occupies a strategic position between Western Europe and Eastern Europe that provides it with several advantages. It is close to important markets such as Germany and Italy, and through its borders with Slovenia, Serbia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country’s economic strength is based on its export and tourism sectors, which takes up over 50% and 15% of total GDP in 2017 respectively. The country continued its fourth year of positive economic expansion in 2018, supported by strong private consumption, and exports of goods and services. The debt-to-GDP ratio started decreasing since 2015 thanks to the prudent government spending and borrowing. The narrowed budget deficit and current account surplus has allowed Croatia to exit the EU’s Excessive Deficit Procedure in June 2017.

In December 2018, Fitch affirmed Croatia's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB+', with a positive rating outlook. The rating reflects the country's strong structural features, including human development and governance indicators and high GDP per capita, with weak growth potential, high public sector debt and external vulnerabilities. 

Hong Kong – Croatia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Croatia increased by 31.4% from HK$ 417 million in 2017 to HK$ 548 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Croatia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+38.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+14.6%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-7.8%), which represented 83.0% of total exports to Croatia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Croatia buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Croatia has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case of small amount reported in the past 12 months (March 2018 to February 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 March 2019

          
Flag and map of Azerbaijan

 
Key Information
Capital   Baku
Population   9.7 million
Area   86,600 sq km
Currency   Azerbaijani Manat (1 AZN = 0.589445 USD as of 19 March 2019)
Official language   Azerbaijani
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 25 out of 190 in 2019 (↑32)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 69 out of 140 in 2018 (↓4)
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Petroleum products (88.6%)   Machinery & equipment (21.8%)
Food products & animals (4.7%)   Food products (16.8%)
Metals (1.8%)   Metals (12.4%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Italy (23.5%)   Russia (18.0%)
Turkey (12.2%)   Turkey (14.8%)
Israel (5.7%)   China (9.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Azerbaijan declared its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Its government is structured as a dominant-party unitary presidential system, with a high degree of power concentrated in the presidential administration. The incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, who took power in 2003, has dominated the country's politics and was re-elected for his fourth term in April 2018. The country adopts a unicameral legislature with 125 members in the National Assembly. Currently, the ruling party New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) holds an absolute majority in the National Assembly. The next legislative and presidential elections are due in November 2020 and October 2025 respectively.

Externally, Azerbaijan remains locked in an intractable conflict with Armenia regarding the territory of Nagorny Karabakh, which is a landlocked region physically located in southwest Azerbaijan, but is home to a majority ethnic Armenian population. Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, conflicts in the contested region remained frequent over the past two decades
.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Azerbaijan possesses vast natural resources including oil and gas. The hydrocarbon sector, including oil, gas and petroleum products, accounted for around 90% of the country’s total export revenues. Economic growth grew at a faster pace in 2018, as both oil and non-oil sectors expanded. Economic performance is projected to strengthen in the medium term, fueled by natural gas exports and a moderate acceleration in domestic demand. The current account balance remained in surplus in 2018, driven by higher export earnings from hydrocarbons.

In January 2019, Standard and Poor’s affirmed Azerbaijan's long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at 'BB+/B' with a stable outlook. The ratings are primarily supported by the country’s strong fiscal position, which is underpinned by the large stock of foreign assets accumulated in the sovereign wealth fund constrained by weak institutional effectiveness, the narrow and concentrated economic base, limited monetary policy flexibility
.

 

Hong Kong – Azerbaijan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Azerbaijan increased by 165.6% from HK$159 million in 2017 to HK$423 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Azerbaijan were: (1) telecommunications, and sound recording and reproducing apparatus equipment (+120.0%), (2) power generating machinery and equipment, and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+118.1%), which represented 85.7% of total exports to Azerbaijan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Azerbaijani buyers. In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no insured business on Azerbaijan).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Turkmenistan

 
Key Information
Capital   Ashgabat
Population   5.8 million
Area   488,100 sq km
Currency   Turkmenistani Manat (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 3.5 TMT)
Official language   Turkmen
Form of government   Presidential republic
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 126 out of 160 in 2018

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Turkmenistan has a presidential system of government where the president assumes the roles of both the head of state and the head of government. Constitutional changes passed in 2016 extended presidential term limits from five to seven years, and removed the 70-year age limit for holders of presidential office. In February 2017, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled Turkmenistan since 2007, won the presidential election with 97.7% of the votes and was sworn in as president for his third consecutive term. Regarding foreign policy, Turkmenistan has an official policy of neutrality and avoids formal engagement in any military blocs.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Turkmenistan is located at the center of the Eurasian continent and has been classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank since 2012.  The hydrocarbon sector plays a vital role in its economy, with exports making up about one-fourths of the country’s GDP. The country’s gas reserves represent about 10% of global reserves. Russia was once a major market of its gas exports. The country has now turned to the Chinese market as exports to Russia have come to a halt due to pricing disputes. However, exports become heavily dependent on the China market. Agriculture employs nearly half of the country's workforce, but accounts for less than 10% of the GDP.

Economic growth has been stable at above 6% in recent years, supported by rising gas export volumes to China. The value of the country’s merchandise exports to China grew by 18.1% year on year in the first nine months of 2018, and accounted for 85.4% of its total exports. Against this backdrop, the economy is vulnerable to external shocks such as decline in global commodity prices.

 

Hong Kong – Turkmenistan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Turkmenistan decreased by 24.5% from HK$28.0 million in 2017 to HK$21.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Turkmenistan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-18.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-57.5%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+451.8%), which represented 95.2% of total exports to Turkmenistan..

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Turkmen buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no insured business on Turkmenistan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 18 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Ethiopia

 
Key Information
Capital   Addis Ababa
Population   102.4 million
Area   1,221,900 sq km
Currency   Ethiopian birr (1 USD = 28.5307 ETB as of 14 March 2019)
Official language   Amharic
Form of government   Federal republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 159 out of 190 in 2019 (↑2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 122 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (40.5%)   Manufactured products (75.6%)
Fuels and mining products (34.6%)   Fuels and mining products (14.0%)
Manufactured products (13.3%)   Agricultural products (10.2%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Sudan (31.0%)   China (27.0%)
Switzerland (13.5%)   Saudi Arabia (11.3%)
China (10.8%)   India (7.1%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation

Political Highlights

 

Ethiopia is an authoritarian state ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has been in power since 1991 and currently holds 546 (out of 547) seats in parliament. The president, a largely ceremonial role, is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the president by the House of People's Representatives in October 2018, being the first woman to hold the office. Abiy Ahmed, the current prime minister since April 2018, came to power with a grand vision to liberalise Ethiopia, both economically and politically. Since his election, Abiy has created space for a more inclusive political dialogue and has taken steps to bring stability to the region. On the economic front, the new government has announced an ambitious reform program for the country aimed at opening the economy to private investment and competition to support sustainable growth.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, and the fastest growing economy in the region. However, it is also one of the poorest, with a very low per capita income. Over the past decade, the country has built on its strong track record of development. Despite economic growth slowed in 2018, the growth figure remained high and current account deficit continued to narrow. The country is embarking on its next phase of economic and social development, supported by reforms and powered by the private sector. In November 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ethiopia's long-term issuer default rating at 'B' with a stable outlook. The rating is supported by the country’s strong economic growth under the country's industrialisation strategy, while large macroeconomic imbalances weigh on the rating.

Hong Kong – Ethiopia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Ethiopia decreased by 24.7% from HK$1,664 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,253 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Ethiopia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-24.0%), (2) general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (+1,311.4%), and (3) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+299.1%), which represented 81.0% of total exports to Ethiopia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Ethiopia buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Ethiopia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 14 March 2019

          
Flag and map of Slovenia

 
Key Information
Capital   Ljubljana
Population   2.1 million
Area   20,273 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.12915 USD as of 13 March 2019)
Official language   Slovene
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 82 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 67 out of 140 in 2018 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 33 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (40.7%)   Machinery & transport equipment (36.4%)
Manufactured goods (30.5%)   Manufactured goods (28.5%)
Chemicals (14.7%)   Chemicals (13.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Germany (18.9%)   Germany (16.5%)
Italy (10.7%)   Italy (13.6%)
Austria (7.4%)   Austria (9.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Slovenia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. It is a parliamentary republic with president as head of the state elected by universal suffrage with a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The current president, Borut Pahor, sworn for his second term in office in November 2017. The legislature is a bicameral parliament consisting of the National Assembly (lower house) with 90 members and the National Council (upper house) with 40 members. In June 2018, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, the largest single party in the parliament with 25 seats, failed to find a coalition partner to form the government. Therefore, five center-left parties together holding 43 seats, nominated Marjan Sarec to become prime minister and form a government following the inconclusive general election in June 2018. According to EIU, given the diverging manifestoes of the coalition members, it is expected the government to be fractious and to struggle with implementing coherent policies. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Slovenia is the fifth-smallest country in the European Union (EU) in terms of population. Its economy was limited by its small sized market, and its economic strength is based on its export sector, which takes up over 80% of GDP. A broad-based recovery continued in 2018, lowering unemployment, swinging the headline fiscal balance into surplus, and reducing the public debt ratio.  The current account posted sizeable surpluses in recent years benefited from the export growth with major trading partners including Austria, Germany and Italy. Tourism is another important sector of the economy, which reported several consecutive record-breaking years. Economic growth reached its decade high in 2017 while moderated slightly in 2018 as foreign demand weakened. According to Internation Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s near-term growth prospects are positive, but the medium-term outlook is less favorable as the rapidly aging population will reduce potential growth. In 2019, growth is projected to slow to 3.4%, as export demand eases and capacity constraints becomes more severe.

In December 2018, S&P affirmed its sovereign credit ratings on Slovenia’s long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign at A+ and A-1 respectively. The outlook remains positive. The rating reflects the country's educated workforce, its eurozone membership, benefits from the European Central Bank's (ECB's) monetary policy, strong export-oriented manufacturing sector & etc. 

Hong Kong – Slovenia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Slovenia increased by 10.1% from HK$ 714 million in 2017 to HK$ 786 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Slovenia were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+17.8%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+22.6%), and (3) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+37.4%), which represented 69.1% of total exports to Slovenia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Slovenia buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 31.3% and 173.7% respectively, while insured business decreased by 6.0%. Major insured products were chemical products, electronics and electrical appliances, which represented 96.7% of HKECIC’s insured business on Slovenia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Slovenia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported in the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 13 March 2019

          
Flag and map of Sri Lanka

 
Key Information
Capital   Colombo (commercial capital); Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Population   20.9 million
Area   65,610 sq km
Currency   Sri Lanka rupee (1 USD = 178.742 LKR as of 12 March 2019)
Official language   Sinhala, Tamil
Form of government   Republic with executive president
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 100 out of 190 in 2019 (↑11)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 85 out of 140 in 2018 (↓4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 94 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Textiles & garments (44.3%)   Textiles and clothing (13.0%)
Tea (13.5%)   Machinery & transport equipment (12.5%)
Rubber products (7.4%)   Refined petroleum (11.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (26.1%)   India (21.7%)
UK (9.3%)   China (19.0%)
India (6.2%)   UAE (7.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Sri Lanka is a republic with an executive presidency. The president is the head of state and head of government with executive powers, elected for a five-year term by universal suffrage. The legislature is a unicameral parliament with 225 members, directly elected for five years. In 2015, Maithripala Sirisena became the president and led a government comprising the two main parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), until October 2018 when the coalition broke up owing to ideological differences and political in-fighting. Due to difference over economic policy, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sacked by the president in October 2018 with the appointment of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister, which Wickremesinghe has claimed unconstitutional. The constitutional crisis was ended with the president re-appointing Wickremesinghe as prime minister in December 2018. It is widely expected that the remainder of the government’s term would be marked by ongoing risks to political stability The next presidential election is scheduled for late 2019 and parliamentary election in 2020.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Following 30 years of civil war that ended in 2009, Sri Lanka registered robust economic growth, largely driven by reconstruction projects and expansion in the tourism sector. At the same time, the economy is transitioning from a predominantly rural-based economy towards a more urbanized economy oriented around manufacturing and services.

However, the political crisis last year has led to the slowest economic expansion in 17 years. According to the central bank in February 2019, economic growth for 2018 was estimated to have slowed to 3.0% due to the damage to the economy from a conflict between the president and prime minister. During the political crisis last year, three international credit rating agencies downgraded the country's debt, making it more expensive to borrow abroad
.

 

Hong Kong – Sri Lanka Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka increased by 0.2% from HK$4,062 million in 2017 to HK$4,074 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Sri Lanka were: (1) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (-2.5%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.4%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-14.2%), which represented 66.1% of total exports to Sri Lanka.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Sri Lanka buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 51.6% and decreased 49.1% respectively, while insured business increased by 23.5%. Major insured products were clothing, textiles and papers, which represented 85.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on Sri Lanka. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Sri Lanka has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (March 2018 to February 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 12 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Fiji

 
Key Information
Capital   Suva
Population   0.88 million
Area   18,333 sq km
Currency   Fiji dollar (1 USD = 2.13 FJD as of 11 February 2019)
Official language   English, Fijian and Hindi
Form of government   Parliamentary Democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 101 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 133 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (47.1%)   Manufactured products (64.0%)
Manufactured products (26.3%)   Agricultural products (19.3%)
Fuels and mining products (19.4%)   Fuels and mining products (15.9%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (18.6%)   Singapore (19.2%)
Australia (14.8%)   New Zealand (17.3%)
New Zealand (6.6%)   Australia (16.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Fiji became independent in 1970 and is a member country of The Commonwealth. The president is the head of state appointed for a three-year term by parliament. The incumbent president Jioji Konousi Konrote took office in November 2015 and was reappointed in 2018 for another three-year term. The legislature is a single-chamber parliament with 51 members directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a four-year term. The prime minister is the head of government. Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama became the first democratically elected prime minister in the 2014 general election and was re-elected in 2018. The Fiji First Party (FFP), led by Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, retained its parliamentary majority in the general election held in November 2018. The next general election is due in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of Fiji is heavily dependent on tourism, remittances, and the sugar sector. The country is remotely located and prone to natural disasters, and trade is hindered by high transportation costs. The country has been recovering well after Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016 and was estimated to grow at about 3.2% in 2018, its ninth consecutive year of expansion. While the country remains vulnerable to shifts in tourism preferences and natural disasters, growth momentum is projected to continue in the coming years. In August 2018, Standard and Poor’s affirmed its 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings with a stable outlook on Fiji, citing the country’s falling interest costs, sound external performance, and medium-term economic growth prospects support the ratings.

Hong Kong – Fiji Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Fiji increased by 32.0% from HK$150 million in 2017 to HK$198 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Fiji were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+93.5%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+24.3%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-2.9%), which represented 65.7% of total exports to Fiji.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Fiji buyers. In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no claim payment or payment difficult case reported against Fiji buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 11 March 2019

           
Flag and map of Albania

 
Key Information
Capital   Tirana
Population   3.1 million
Area   28,748 sq km
Currency   Albanian Lek (1 ALL = 0.0091 USD as of 27 February 2019)
Official language   Albanian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 63 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 76 out of 140 in 2018 (↑4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 88 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (66.3%)   Manufactured products (58.3%)
Fuels and mining products (20.0%)   Agricultural products (15.1%)
Agricultural products (10.7%)   Fuels and mining products (8.5%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
European Union (78.5%)   European Union (55.9%)
Serbia (7.8%)   Turkey (7.4%)
China (3.1%)   China (7.2%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Albania transited from communism to democracy during 1990s. It is a parliament republic with president as the head of the state and prime minister as the head of government. Ilir Meta was elected as president by the parliament in April 2017 and Edi Rama serves as the prime minister. Under Rama’s ruling, the country made progress in stabilizing public debts while crediting more business-friendly environment. In the parliamentary elections held in June 2017, the ruling Socialist Party of Albania (SPA) secured 74 of the 140 seats without the need for its former coalition partner, the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI). Rama’s strong electoral win in 2017 gave him the first clear parliamentary majority that Albania has seen since 2001. However, political stability came under strain following massive student protest during 2018 against government policies. In response to the protests, Rama reshuffled half of his cabinet in December 2018. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are due in 2020.

Albania has been an official candidate to join European Union (EU) since 2014. In 2018, the EU decided that membership talks with Albania may open if the country continue with the progress of reform. In March 2019, the leaders of Albania believed that the EU would decide in June 2019 to open membership talks with them.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Albania’s economy is dominated by agriculture, which employs more than half of the workforce and accounted for one fifth of the country’s GDP. Income from tourism sector is also a notable source of the nation. Although it remains one of the least developed countries in Europe with GDP per capita below the EU average, inward foreign direct investment has increased in recent years as the government embarked on reforms to improve the business climate. The economy grew 4% in 2018 benefitting from rising domestic demand, growing tourism, and a recovery in key EU trading partners. Furthermore, the government approved an agricultural financing scheme worth 20 million euros for 2018 to turn agriculture into the country's main engine of growth. Future growth is projected to be driven by higher private consumption and major infrastructure projects including Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Hydro Power Plants in Devolli River & etc.

In September 2018, Moody's said Albania’s B1 credit rating and a stable outlook for the country was backed by a solid economic growth, improved institutional quality and increased prospects for the start of EU membership negotiations.

Hong Kong – Alania Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Albania increased by 75% from HK$56 million in 2017 to HK$98 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Albania were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+160.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+19.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+304.2%), which represented 83.1% of total exports to Albania.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Albania buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no insured business on Albania.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 March 2019

           
Flag and map of Czechia

 
Key Information
Capital   Prague
Population   10.6 million
Area   78,866 sq km
Currency   Czech koruna (1 CZK = 0.04437 USD as of 28 February 2019)
Official language   Czech
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 35 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 29 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 22 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (57.0%)   Machinery & transport equipment (46.2%)
Intermediate manufactured goods (14.9%)   Intermediate manufactured goods (16.8%)
Chemicals (6.1%)   Chemicals (11.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (32.6%)   Germany (29.8%)
Slovakia (7.6%)   Slovakia (5.8%)
Poland (6.0%)   Poland (9.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Czechia is a member of the European Union (EU). The country is a parliamentary republic and the president, directly elected by universal suffrage on a five-year term, is the head of state and chief commander of the armed forces. The president appoints the prime minister, who subsequently appoints members of the cabinet and devising domestic and foreign policies. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting of a 81-seat Senate (upper house) and a 200-seat Chamber of Deputies (lower house).

In the parliamentary elections held in October 2017, centrist ANO movement, an anti-establishment party won the largest share of the vote and 78 of the 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, ending a long time of political dominance by mainstream parties. After more than eight months of negotiations, ANO formed a minority coalition government with the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) in July 2018.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Czechia has a highly-open economy with exports accounting for roughly 80% of GDP. Emerging as an important gateway to the EU market, it plays an important role in the Germany-Central European supply chain. Meanwhile, the industry and external sectors are important driving factors of economic growth. As an export-oriented country, Czechia would benefit from closer economic integration with the EU and continue to serve as a manufacturing base for the EU.

In January 2019, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) affirmed its 'AA-‘ foreign currency long-term sovereign credit ratings on the country with a stable outlook, reflecting S&P’s view that economic growth will remain strong over the next two to three years primarily supported by solid domestic demand, albeit at a slightly lower rate than previously. The fiscal and external accounts are anticipated to loosen slightly but still remain healthy.
 

Hong Kong – Czechia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Czechia increased by 85.3% from HK$7.30 billion in 2017 to HK$13.53 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Czechia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+120.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+64.8%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+66.5%), which represented 88.3% of total exports to Czechia

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Czechia. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 7.8% and 8.6% respectively, while insured business increased by 49.0%. Major insured products were toys, electronics and clothing, which represented 80.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Czechia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Czechia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 February 2019

       
Flag and map of Bosnia and Herzegovina

 
Key Information
Capital   Sarajevo
Population   3.8 million
Area   51,197 sq km
Currency   Bosnia-Herzegovina Convertible Mark (pegged with euro at 1 EUR = 1.95583 BAM)
Official language   Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 89 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 91 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 72 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Base metals (19.5%)   Mineral products (15.6%)
Machinery & mechanical products (12.7%)   Machinery (14.6%)
Mineral products (10.3%)   Base Metals (11.3%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
EU (71.0%)   EU (61.0%)
Serbia (9.8%)   Serbia (11.2%)
Turkey (3.7%)   China (6.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization 

Political Highlights

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a parliamentary republic. The country has three main ethnic groups, which are Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The country’s characteristic by its complicated political structure. It is comprised of two largely autonomous entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina (the Federation), and Republika Srpska (RS) as well as a self-governing district, Brcko, under the direct authority of the central state government. The presidency is a three-member body representing Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, serving as the head of state. In October 2018, Sefik Dzaferovic (representing Bosniaks) and Zeljko Komsi (representing Croats) were elected as members of presidency from a joint constituency in the Federation, while Milorad Dodik (representing Serb) was elected from voters in RS. Milorad Dodik was designated as Chairperson and the position will rotates twice around the three members every eight months. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting the House of Representatives and House of Peoples. About two-thirds of members were elected from the Federation and about one third from the RS. The next general elections are scheduled to be held in 2022.

The country formally requested to join the European Union (EU) in February 2016 but due to a highly decentralized government and lack of consensus among politicians concerning the adoption of reforms required by the EU, as well as inter-ethnic divergences, the process of EU integration remain slow.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of BiH relies heavily on private consumption as it accounted for about 76% of GDP in 2017. Although BiH has maintained moderate economic growth of about 3% in recent years, the unemployment rate remains high at over 30%. The complex government structure and underdeveloped institutions have created significant obstacles to foreign direct investment, and have also hampered economic policy coordination and reform. According to IMF, about a fifth of the BiH economy is loss-making state-owned companies. IMF advised those companies should be restructured or be privatized to become sustainable. In 2016, BiH signed a 553 million euro loan deal with the IMF but it was frozen in 2018 over a lack of economic reforms.

Hong Kong – Bosnia and Herzegovina Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

The economy of BiH relies heavily on private consumption as it accounted for about 76% of GDP in 2017. Although BiH has maintained moderate economic growth of about 3% in recent years, the unemployment rate remains high at over 30%. The complex government structure and underdeveloped institutions have created significant obstacles to foreign direct investment, and have also hampered economic policy coordination and reform. According to IMF, about a fifth of the BiH economy is loss-making state-owned companies. IMF advised those companies should be restructured or be privatized to become sustainable. In 2016, BiH signed a 553 million euro loan deal with the IMF but it was frozen in 2018 over a lack of economic reformsTotal exports from Hong Kong to Bosnia and Herzegovina decreased by 13.7% from HK$132 million in 2017 to HK$114 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Bosnia and Herzegovina were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-14.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+5.9%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-23.5%), which represented 91.9% of total exports to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Bosnia and Herzegovina buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC) with exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2018), there was no insured business on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 25 February 2019

           
Flag and map of Georgia

 
Key Information
Capital   Tbilisi
Population   4.9 million
Area   69,700 sq km
Currency   Georgian Lari (1 GEL = 0.376652 USD as of 22 February 2019)
Official language   Georgian
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 6 out of 190 in 2019 (↑3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 66 out of 140 in 2018 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 119 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured goods (40.8%)   Manufactured goods (65.3%)
Agricultural products (33.6%)   Fuels and mining products (18.6%)
Fuels and mining products (20.8%)   Agricultural products (14.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
European Union (23.7%)   European Union (27.5%)
Russia (14.5%)   Turkey (17.2%)
Azerbaijan (10.0%)   Russia (9.9%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organizatio

Political Highlights

 

Georgia is located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and is crisscrossed by strategically important oil and gas pipelines. Ethnic Georgians form over 80% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Azeris, Armenians and Russians. The country is a semi-presidential republic where the president, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, is the head of state, while the prime minister, who is appointed by the president, is the head of the government. Mamuka Bakhtadze, previously served as minister of finance, took over as prime minister to head the new government in June 2018. Georgia adopts a unicameral legislature with 150 members in the Parliament. In the 2016 parliamentary election, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GD-DG), which led the previous ruling coalition, secured a three-quarters majority. GD-DG’s preferred candidate, Salome Zurabishvili, was elected as president in November 2018. .
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Georgia's main economic activities include agriculture, mining, tourism as well as production of beverages, machinery, and chemicals. It has also sizeable hydropower capacity that provides most of its energy needs. The country has a sizable exposure to Turkey through trade, tourism, and FDI inflows. Preliminary official statistics reveal that Georgia’s real GDP grew 4.8% year-on-year in 2018, which is behind the World Bank’s and IMF’s latest growth projections of 5%-5.5%. The economy grew by 5.4% in the first half of 2018, while growth has slowed to 4.3% in the second half. The slowdown was driven by a marked weakness of activity in Turkey and the depreciation of the lira.

Georgia is vulnerable to trade shocks, mainly related to regional developments, global trade tensions and weaker global growth, according to the IMF. Meanwhile, Georgia is supported by a three-year extended credit facility from the IMF in 2017, which is aimed to support the authorities’ economic reform program. In December 2018, the IMF approved the release of a US$ 41.6 million loan tranche to Georgia, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to US$166.3 million.

In February 2019, Fitch Ratings has upgraded Georgia's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating to 'BB' from 'BB-' with a stable rating outlook, while citing the country’s external finances remain a key rating weakness with net external debt at 61.9% of GDP at end-2018.

.

 

Hong Kong – Georgia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Georgia increased by 39.4% from HK$292 million in 2017 to HK$407 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Georgia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-4.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+314.4%), and (3) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+140.0%), which represented 79.4% of total exports to Georgia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Georgian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), there was no insured business on Georgia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 22 February 2019

       
Flag and map of South Africa

 
Key Information
Capital   Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative) and Bloemfontein (judicial)
Population   55.4 million
Area   1,219,090 sq km
Currency   South African Rand (1 ZAR = 0.0707 USD as of 19 February 2019)
Official language   11 languages including is Zulu and English
Form of government   Constitutional democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 82 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 67 out of 140 in 2018 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 33 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Mineral products (20.2%)   Machinery (24.4%)
Precious metals (16.3%)   Mineral products (13.9%)
Vehicles, aircraft and vessels (13.2%)   Vehicles, aircraft and vessels (9.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
China (9.6%)   China (19.4%)
USA (7.5%)   Germany (12.2%)
Germany (7.1%)   USA (7.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Republic of South Africa (South Africa) is a constitutional democracy wherein the presdent is the head of the state elected by the parliament for a five year term. Former president, Jacob Zuma resigned in February 2018 on eve of no-confidence vote under multiple charges of corruption and nine years of economic decline under his  power. Cyril Ramaphosa, formerly the Deputy President, was elected by the paliament for the reminder of Zuma’s term. The African National Congress (ANC) has been the dominant political party since 1994 but its support ebbed from a peak of nearly 70% in 2004 to about 54% in the municipal election held in August 2016. The ANC’s performance was undermined primarily by the high unemployment and slow service delivery in rural areas and townships that are characterised by high levels of poverty and rampant income inequality. The country adopts a bicameral legislature, consisting of the 400-seat National Assembly and the 90-seat National Council of Provinces. The next national election is scheduled to take place in May 2019.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


According to President Ramaphosa, after a decade of economic stagnation and political paralysis, around a third of working-age population are unemployed and the economy recorded its slowest growth in 2016. The new government stepped up its efforts to improve governance and placed the task of inclusive growth and job creation at the centre of the national agenda. The government aims to create meaningful scale of job opportunities via investments in the productive sectors of the economy, in infrastructure and in skills development. Economic acticity is expected to benefit from policy reforms which encourage private-sector investment and confidence. According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), direct foreign investment into South Africa increased by more than 440% from US$1.3 billion in 2017 to US$7.1 billion in 2018. Although the economy was affected by drought in Q2 2018, real GDP is projected to stage a mild recovery in 2019 onwards benefit from policy reforms.

In November 2018, S&P affirmed the country’s long term foreign and local currency ratings at ‘BB’ and ‘BB+” respectively. The rating outlook was stable, reflecting S&P’s view that the South African government will pursue a range of economic, social, and fiscal reforms, albeit over an extended period of time.Currently, Moody’s is the only major credit rating agency that still rates South Africa’s debt at investment grade (Baa3 with stable outlook) after S&P and Fitch downgraded the country in 2017 following political changes that sapped confidence and knocked financial markets,

Hong Kong – South Africa Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to South Africa increased by 18.9% from HK$ 9.0 billion in 2017 to HK$ 10.6 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to South Africa were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+34.8%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-8.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts (-1.6%), which represented 86.1% of total exports to South Africa.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering South African buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on South Africa decreased by 9.7% and 43.2% respectively, and insured business decreased by 4.5%. Major insured products were metallic products, clothing and chemical products, which represented 69.8% of HKECIC’s insured business on South Africa. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on South Africa has been satisfactory, with two payment difficulty cases and one claim case reported in the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), involving textiles products.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 February 2019

          
Flag and map of United Arab Emirates

 
Key Information
Capital   Abu Dhabi
Population   9.7 million
Area   83,600 sq km
Currency   UAE dirham (pegged with USD at 1 USD = 3.6725 AED)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Federation of seven emirates
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 11 out of 190 in 2019 (↑21)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 27 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 11 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Re-exports (48.2%)   Machinery & electrical equipment (28.7%)
Crude oil (10.2%)   Precious stones & precious metals (20.3%)
Refined products (6.3%)   Vehicles & other transport equipment (11.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
India (10.4%)   China (18.7%)
Japan (9.3%)   USA (9.0%)
Iran (9.0%)   India (7.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain and Fujairah. Each emirate has its own local government, while the Federal Supreme Council (FSC) formed by the rulers of the emirates is the highest constitutional authority and the top policy-making entity in the federation. The FSC elects the President as head of state among its members. On the death of his father in Nov 2004, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the ruler of Abu Dhabi and was elected as President of the UAE. The prime minister is the head of the Council of Ministers (cabinet) appointed by the FSC. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, currently serves as Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE. The national legislature is a unicameral Federal National Council comprised of 20 appointed and 20 elected members representing the separate emirates. The overall political environment of the country is broadly stable given its prosperity and generous social welfare benefits.

The UAE is located at a strategic position bordering the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz, and less than 100 miles from Iran. The hostility between the country and Iran has created regional tensions and damaged trade. In the face of regional insecurity, the UAE has adopted an increasingly active foreign policy. In June 2017, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. The country also maintains strong bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and the US.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Although 30% of the UAE’s GDP is directly based on oil and gas output, the economy is relatively diversified than other neighboring Gulf states. The country has a free trade zone, which offer 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes, and a generally liberal trade regime helps attracting foreign investment. The UAE serves as a regional hub for trade, finance, transport and tourism. The economy contracted in 2017 mainly due to the lower oil prices and lower oil output on the back of the OPEC agreement to cut production. Meanwhile, the country has ample financial reserves derived from its current account surpluses, which helps supporting the country’s economic and fiscal resilience. Furthermore, the government announced plans for a fiscal stimulus for three years, augmenting the planned increase in investment ahead of the Expo 2020 in Dubai should drive further growth to the economy.

In May 2018, Moody’s said in an annual update that the UAE’s Aa2 credit profile and stable outlook reflects its financial support from Abu Dhabi, large hydrocarbon reserves and very high wealth levels. Also, the very high fiscal strength reflects the country's record of large fiscal surpluses and build-up of very large financial assets in Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund. In March 2019, Moody’s announced its completion of periodic review on UAE.

Hong Kong – UAE Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to UAE decreased by 7.7% from HK$51,370 million in 2017 to HK$47,423 million in 2018. The top three export categories to UAE were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.6%), (2) non-metallic mineral manufactures (-43.6%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+11.9%), which represented 74.6% of total exports to UAE.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering UAE buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications decreased by 35.1% and 35.8% respectively, and insured business decreased by 34.1%. Major insured products were clothing, metallic products and chemical products, which represented 53.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on UAE. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on UAE has been acceptable, with three payment difficulty cases and three claim cases reported in the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), involving metallic products, travel goods and watches & clocks.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 February 2019

           
Flag and map of Kuwait

 
Key Information
Capital   Kuwait City
Population   4.5 million
Area   17,818 sq km
Currency   Kuwaiti dinar (pegged to a basket of currencies, 1 KWD = 3.3183 USD as of 13 February 2019)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Constitutional emirate (monarchy)
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 97 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 54 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 63 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Oil & oil products (88.9%)   Intermediate goods (40.0%)
Non-oil (11.1%)   Consumer goods (40.0%)
    Capital goods (20.0%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
South Korea (16.0%)   China (16.4%)
China (15.2%)   USA (10.2%)
India (10.5%)   UAE (8.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy. The Emir of Kuwait is the monarch and head of state of Kuwait, which is under the hereditary rule of the Al-Sabah family. The emir, Sheikh Sabah al?Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, appoints the prime minister and the government, in which the ruling royal family usually holds key ministries. The national legislature is a unicameral National Assembly made up of 50 directly elected members and 15 unelected cabinet ministers. The next legislative election will be due in 2020.

The rivalry between its neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Iran, ongoing boycott of Qatar by the quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, and the presence of jihadi groups remain the key concerns over regional stability. The country is increasing focus on keeping the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) unity intact and developing a closer security ties with its neighbors.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate * Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Kuwait is one of the richest Arab countries. It is the world’s ninth-largest crude oil producer and its oil reserves are the world’s seventh largest. The oil and gas sector remains the backbone of the economy with hydrocarbon products accounting for around 55% of the total GDP and over 90% of total exports. The GDP contracted in 2017 due to lower oil output on the back of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement to cut production. Nevertheless, the country maintains a sovereign wealth fund with sizeable foreign assets derived from its current account surpluses, which provides policy space to increase public investment to support growth.

In January 2019, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) affirmed Kuwait’s long-term issuer debt rating at ‘AA’ with a stable outlook. The stable outlook reflected S&P’s expectation that Kuwait’s public and external balance sheets will remain strong over the next two years, supported by its sovereign wealth fund. This should partially mitigate the risks related to the country’s undiversified oil-dependent economy, and rising geopolitical tensions in the region.

Hong Kong – Kuwait Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Kuwait decreased by 5.4% from HK$1,221 million in 2017 to HK$1,155 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Kuwait were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+3.2%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-8.2%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+15.7%), which represented 71.7% of total exports to Kuwait.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Kuwait buyers. Currently, the insured buyers in Kuwait are mainly small and medium sized companies. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Kuwait increased 25% and decreased 1.1% respectively, while insured business increased by 94.1%. Major insured products were furniture, jewellery, and electrical appliances, which represented 42.2% of HKECIC’s insured business on Kuwait. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Kuwait has been satisfactory, with one claim case reported during the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), involving furniture.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 13 February 2019

          
Flag and map of Armenia

 
Key Information
Capital   Yerevan
Population   3 million
Area   29,800 sq km
Currency   Armenian Dram (1 AMD = 0.0021 USD as of 31 January 2019)
Official language   Armenian
Form of government   Parliamentary democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 41 out of 190 in 2019 (↑6)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 70 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 92 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (35.2%)   Manufactured products (57.9%)
Manufactured products (29.2%)   Fuels and mining products (19.7%)
Agricultural products (23.4%)   Agricultural products (15.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
EU (27.2%)   Russia (28.7%)
Russia (26.5%)   EU (22.0%)
Switzerland (11.8%)   China (11.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Armenia was independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. The president is the head of the state elected by parliament for a seven-year term. Incumbent President Armen Sarkissian was elected in March 2018, the first president elected by parliament instead of a popular vote following the 2015 referendum to change the system of government from a presidential to parliamentary. The prime minister is the head of government nominated by a parliamentary majority. Nikol Pashinian was appointed as prime minister in May 2018, and his My Step Alliance (comprising Civil Contract and Mission Party) secured a comfortable 88-seat majority in the 132-seat parliament.

The Nagorno Karabakh territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan began in 1988, when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan and caused a state of ongoing instability. Though an internationally mediated peace process was established, a permanent settlement to the conflict remains elusive.

 

Economic Trend

^ Estimate * Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Armenia has rich deposits of mineral resources including iron and copper, contributing about one third of the country’s exports. The economy relies heavily on mining, agriculture, remittances from overseas workers (mainly from Russia). The country has only two open trade borders (Iran and Georgia) as its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed as a result of the ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan. The geographic isolation has led to narrow export base for the country and made it dependent on remittances from overseas. The country encountered a slower growth between 2014 and 2016 but has been recovering in the last two years driven by the mining and manufacturing sectors, constructions and higher remittance inflows.

In November 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Armenia's long-term issuer default ratings at 'B+' with a positive outlook, citing the country’s ratings balance a credible monetary policy framework and stronger income per capita and governance indicators relative to peers against high public and external debt and tense relations with some neighboring countries.  

Hong Kong – Armenia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Armenia increased by 49.2% from HK$148 million in 2017 to HK$220 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Armenia were: (1) non-metallic mineral manufactures (+92.1%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+52.4%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods, watches and clocks (+13.0%), which represented 79.6% of total exports to Armenia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Armenian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), there was no insured business on Armenia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 February 2019

          
Flag and map of Hungary

 
Key Information
Capital   Budapest
Population   9.8 million
Area   93,028 sq km
Currency   Hungarian Forint (1 HUF = 0.0036 USD or 0.0032 EUR as of 1 February 2019)
Official language   Hungarian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 53 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 48 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 31 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & equipment (55.9%)   Machinery & equipment (48.4%)
Manufactured goods (32.2%)   Chemicals (36.4%)
Food, beverage & tobacco (7.2%)   Fuels & energy (7.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (27.8%)   Germany (26.9%)
Romania (5.4%)   Austria (6.5%)
Italy (5.1%)   China (6.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Hungary is a parliamentary republic. The president is the head of the state and the prime minister is the head of government. Current President Janos Ader was re-elected by the parliament to another five-year term in March 2017. A centre-right majority government, led by the prime minister Viktor Orban and comprising the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz) and its coalition partner Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), together secured 133 of the 199 seats in the 2018 parliamentary election. The government’s economic agenda continues to focus on securing buoyant growth, while reducing vulnerabilities, especially external debt. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are due in 2020.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate * Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Hungary is a highly export-oriented country, given its attractive location near the German and Austrian markets. It is a hub for many manufacturing bases, back-offices and other support services of the European supply chains. Economic growth in the recent years has been strong supported by buoyant domestic demand and investments from the EU countries. The country’s external debt has also declined due to the substantial external current account surpluses and an active public debt management. In November 2018, Moody's affirmed Hungary's long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings at Baa3 with a stable outlook. The stable outlook reflects Moody's view that risks to Hungary's credit profile are balanced.

Hong Kong – Hungary Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Hungary increased by 10.2% from HK$13.8 billion in 2017 to HK$15.3 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Hungary were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-17.4%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+10.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+95.5%), which represented 87.6% of total exports to Hungary.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Hungary buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications increased by 11.8% and 302.6% respectively, and insured business increased by 5.5%. Major insured products were electronics, electrical appliances, and watches & clocks, which represented 92.2% of HKECIC’s insured business on Hungary. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Hungary has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 February 2019

          
Flag and map of Dominican Republic

 
Key Information
Capital   Santo Domingo
Population   10.3 million
Area   48,670 sq km
Currency   Dominican pesos (1 USD = 50.44 DOP as of 31 January 2019)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Representative Democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 102 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 82 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 87 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (49.2%)   Manufactured products (68.7%)
Agricultural products (21.2%)   Agricultural products (16.4%)
Fuels and mining products (5.5%)   Fuels and mining products (14.9%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (50.0%)   USA (44.2%)
Haiti (9.0%)   China (13.1%)
Canada (8.4%)   Mexico (4.6%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy. The president is the head of state and government directly elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. The bicameral legislature is composed of a 32-member Senate and a 190-members Chamber of Deputies, whose members of both houses are directly elected for a four-year terms and may be reelected. Presidential, legislative and municipal elections were last held in 2016. Incumbent President Danilo Medina won the re-election in 2016 with a large majority of the votes, and his Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) party won most legislative seats. The next presidential, congressional and municipal elections will be held in May 2020.

The country’s relations with the US had in the past anchored by strong trade and investment ties and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free-Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). However, US President Donald Trump has in recent months threatened to eliminate Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador from keeping preferential access to US markets without disturbing the rest of the agreement. In 2018, the Trump administration pulled its ambassadors out of Dominican Republic after the latter broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Dominican Republic has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years and a significant reduction in poverty, although the country remains vulnerable to natural disasters. The IMF estimated the country’s 2018 growth to reach 6.4% driven by healthy growth in exports, remittances and tourism revenue. This is largely thanks to strong dynamics in the US economy, the Dominican Republic’s key trading partner. However, growth for 2019 is forecast to soften on easing momentum in the US, tighter global financial conditions and vulnerability to severe weather conditions.

Hong Kong – Dominican Republic Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Dominican Republic increased by 8.4% from HK$801 million in 2017 to HK$869 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Dominican Republic were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+18.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-3.8%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+14.1%), which represented 76.1% of total exports to Dominican Republic.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Dominican Republic buyers. In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), there was no claim payment or payment difficult case reported against Dominican Republic buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 February 2019

          
Flag and map of  Saudi Arabia

 
Key Information
Capital   Riyadh
Population   33.7 million
Area   2,149,690 sq km
Currency   Saudi Riyal (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 3.75 SAR)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 92 out of 190 in 2019 ( - )
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 30 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 55 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (75.0%)   Manufactured goods (77.4%)
Manufactured goods (20.4%)   Agricultural products (16.2%)
Agricultural products (2.2%)   Fuels and mining products (3.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Japan (12.2%)   China (15.4%)
China (11.7%)   USA (13.6%)
South Korea (9.0%)   UAE (6.5%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization, Central Intelligence Agency

Political Highlights

 

Saudi Arabia is the most populous and largest country by land area in the Arabian Peninsula. It is a monarchy where the King is both the head of state and government and has absolute executive power. The constitution of Saudi Arabia is the Holy Quran and Prophet's tradition. There is no elected legislature and the Consultative Assembly is made up of 150 members appointed by the King. It is the official government advisory body and proposes laws to the King. As a leading oil producer in the world and the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia has strong influential power in the Middle East and the Arab world. Islam is the sole official religion, with Sunnis making up 90% of the population.

The Al-Saud family has been ruling the country since the Kingdom’s foundation in 1932. King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud acceded to the throne in 2015 on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz al-Saud. To pave the way for a smooth transfer of power to the next generation, his son Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud was nominated as crown prince in 2017
.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Saudi Arabia is an oil-based economy and a dominant member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). According to the OPEC, Saudi Arabia possesses around 18% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the world’s largest exporter of petroleum. The oil and gas sector accounts for roughly 50% of its GDP and 75% of its export earnings. However, its dominance in the oil sector has also made the economy vulnerable to oil price volatility. In January 2019, the International Monetary Fund slashed its forecast for Saudi Arabia’s economic growth in 2019 to 1.8%, 0.6 percentage points lower than its October’s projection, due to lower oil prices and lower oil production growth.


In 2016, the authorities launched the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, aimed at diversifying its economy from oil and gas through expanding their investments into additional sectors, including manufacturing, tourism and leisure, technology as well as mining. The initiative also aimed at speeding up the privatization of government entities. Separately, the government introduced a 5% value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services in January 2018.

 

Hong Kong – Saudi Arabia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia decreased by 1.8% from HK$8,014 million in 2017 to HK$7,870 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Saudi Arabia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-2.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-6.6%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-30.0%), which represented 77.1% of total exports to Saudi Arabia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Saudi Arabian buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications on Saudi Arabia decreased by 18.6% and increased by 37.2% respectively, while insured business increased by 25.2%. Major insured products were toys, metallic products and electronics which represented 40.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Saudi Arabia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Saudi Arabia has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (January 2018 to December 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 31 January 2019

       
Flag and map of Suriname

 
Key Information
Capital   Paramaribo
Population   0.57 million
Area   163,820 sq km
Currency   Suriname dollar (1 USD = 7.456 SRD as of 31 January 2019)
Official language   Dutch
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 165 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (8.4%)   Manufactured products (59.5%)
Agricultural products (7.5%)   Fuels and mining products (18.4%)
Manufactured products (4.8%)   Agricultural products (15.7%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Switzerland (38.6%)   USA (35.0%)
Hong Kong (22.2%)   Netherlands (17.0%)
Belgium (10.2%)   Trinidad and Tobago (13.0%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Suriname, once known as Dutch Guiana, is one of South America's smallest countries. It was independent from the Netherlands in 1975. The country is a presidential republic with the president as the head of state and head of government, who is elected by the parliament for a five-year term. Former military leader Desire Bouterse was elected to his second term as president in July 2015 after his National Democratic Party (NDP) won a slim majority in parliament. He retains broad popularity in the country, and it is widely expected that he will win a third term in 2020. The legislature is the 51-seats unicameral National Assembly elected for a five-year term by direct universal suffrage. The next legislative election will take place in May 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast 
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (IMF)


The fall in gold and oil prices resulted a deep recession for the country in 2015-16 with cumulative GDP contracted by 9%. The economy has stabilized in recent years due to the recovery of commodity prices and the launch of the Merian gold mine in late 2016, which helped return growth to positive territory since 2017. Recent indicators point to further improvements in economic activity with real GDP growth estimated at 2% in 2018, followed by a gradual acceleration to 3% over the medium term, according to the IMF. Nonetheless, the economy remains heavily dependent on the mineral sector, and faces challenges including slow pace of reforms, rising public debt and large fiscal deficits.

Hong Kong – Suiname Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Suriname increased by 1.1% from HK$41.3 million in 2017 to HK$41.8 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Suriname were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-14.1%), (2) medicinal and pharmaceutical products (+171.6%), and (3) vegetables and fruit (+25.9%), which represented 63.0% of total exports to Suriname.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Suriname buyers. In the past 12 months (from January to December 2018), there was no insured business on Suriname.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 31 January 2019

           
Flag and map of Yemen

 
Key Information
Capital   Sanaa
Population   25.1 million
Area   527,968 sq km
Currency   Yemeni riyal (1 USD = 250.298 YER as of 28 January 2019)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 187 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 139 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 140 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (54.7%)   Manufactured goods (48.9%)
Agricultural products (33.8%)   Agricultural products (45.2%)
Manufactured goods (11.0%)   Fuels and mining products (1.5%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Yemen is the second most populous country in the Arabian Peninsula. It emerged as a republic in 1990 after Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) merged. The country has been facing an unprecedented humanitarian, social and economic crisis due to the on-going civil war. The country is currently loosely split between two governments, one led by Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and the other led by the Houthis. Elections are long overdue and the last parliamentary election was held in 2003. According to EIU, plans for elections and another attempt at drafting a constitution appear unlikely in the long term as the war rages on.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Yemen has been listed on the Least Developed Countries by the United Nations since 1971. The country has been highly dependent on its oil and gas resources, which contributed about 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenues. However, the ongoing civil war has devastated the country, creating severe humanitarian, social and economic crisis. Economic activity is estimated to have contracted by about 50% since 2014, according to the World Bank. Cases of malnutrition and severe food insecurity have spiked as the fight for control over strategic port facilities has interrupted critical imports. Economic growth is vulnerable and unsustainable as the country relies heavily on donor support from international governments and organisations. Separately, the country will continue to run a high current account deficit in coming years on account of a weak export base, a depreciating currency and an anticipated decrease in foreign aids
.

 

Hong Kong – Yemen Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Yemen decreased by 62.4% from HK$12 million in 2017 to HK$5 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Yemen were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances and electrical parts thereof (+91.6%), (2) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (-19.6%), and (3) chemical materials and products (+160.3%), which represented 71.7% of total exports to Yemen.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Yemeni buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from January 2018 to December 2018), there was no insured business on Yemen.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 January 2019

     
Flag and map of Kazakhstan

 
Key Information
Capital   Astana
Population   18.7 million
Area   2,724,900 sq km
Currency   Kazakhstani Tenge (1 KZT = 0.0026 USD as of 24 January 2019)
Official language   Kazakh, Russian
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 28 out of 190 in 2019 (↑8)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 59 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 71 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Mineral products (68.6%)   Machinery & equipment (37.7%)
Metals (18.1%)   Chemicals (16.7%)
Chemicals (5.1%)   Metals (11.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Italy (17.9%)   Russia (38.3%)
China (11.9%)   China (15.9%)
Netherlands (9.8%)   Germany (5.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world by land area. It declared independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a presidential republic with the president as head of the state elected by universal suffrage. Nursultan Nazarbayev has been the president since the country’s independence, as the constitution allows him to seek re-election for unlimited times. Prime minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev serves as the head of government appointed by the president, while the power remains strongly vested in the president. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting of the 107-seat Mazhilis (lower house) and the 47-seat Senate (upper house). The next parliamentary election will be due in late 2019 or early 2020, and presidential election in 2020.

 

Economic Trend

^ Estimates * Forecasts
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia but the country is constrained by its landlocked and distances to global market and sea ports. The country possesses vast natural resources including oil, other minerals and metals that the economy is highly influenced by the performance in these sectors. The move to a floating exchange-rate regime in 2015 led to a sharp depreciation of the Kazakhstani tenge against the US dollar and surge in consumer prices. After two years of subdued growth, economic activity rebounded in 2017 and 2018 supported by higher of oil prices and production, as well as increased trade and manufacturing. The government continued to invest in regional connectivity and infrastructure to support further economic growth. The government is also an enthusiastic participant in China's Belt and Road Initiative, which would release further funds for infrastructure upgrades and new crossborder connections.

Hong Kong – Kazakhstan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Kazakhstan increased by 41% from HK$1,134 million in 2017 to HK$1,604 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Kazakhstan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+44.0%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+81.4%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-12.0%), which represented 94.3% of total exports to Kazakhstan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Kazakhstan buyers. In the past 12 months (from Jan 2018 to Dec 2018), there was no insured business on Kazakhstan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 24 January 2019

           
Flag and map of Tanzanian

 
Key Information
Capital   Dodoma
Population   55.6 million
Area   883,749 sq km
Currency   Tanzanian Shilling (1 USD= 2,309.87 TZS as of 22 January 2019)
Official language   Swahili, English
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 144 out of 190 in 2019 (↓7)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 116 out of 138 in 2018 (↓2)
 
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (37.1%)   Manufactured products (57.0%)
Manufactured products (15.0%)   Fuel and mining products (16.0%)
Fuel and mining products (7.6%)   Agricultural products (10.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
India (23.0%)   China (17.3%)
South Africa (17.2%)   India (16.5%)
Kenya (8.2%)   UAE (9.3%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation

Political Highlights

 

Tanzania was formed as a sovereign state in 1964 through the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika (mainland) covers more than 99% of the combined territories’ total area. It is a republic with an executive president elected by universal suffrage every five years. The incumbent president John Magufuli is widely expected to win re-election in 2020, as the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party is seen extending its firm grip of power. The unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, comprising of 295 members elected by universal suffrage every five years. Mainland legislative and presidential elections were last held in October 2015, and the next elections are scheduled for 2020. Meanwhile, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania and has its own President and a House of Representatives.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Tanzania has sustained relatively high economic growth over the last decade, mainly supported by expansion in both the industrial and agriculture sectors. However, the country’s economic competitiveness remained constrained by a number of factors, as reflected in the relatively low ranking in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. According to WEF’s latest published competitiveness report, the most problematic factors for doing business include access to finance, tax rates, and inadequate supply of infrastructure. Meanwhile, Tanzania's average income remains very low, denoting limited capacity for households to absorb any economic and income shock. In March 2018, Moody's assigned first-time local and foreign currency issuer ratings of B1 to the Government of Tanzania with a negative outlook.

Hong Kong – Tanzania Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Tanzania decreased by 7.7% from HK$759 million in 2016 to HK$700 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Tanzania were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-7.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+6.5%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+6.5%), which represented 96.4% of total exports to Tanzania.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Tanzanian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from January 2018 to December 2018), there was no insured business on Tanzania.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 22 January 2019

             
Flag and map of Poland

 
Key Information
Capital   Warsaw
Population   38.3 million
Area   311,889 sq km
Currency   Polish Zloty (1 PLN = 0.265665 USD as of 18 January 2019)
Official language   Polish
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 33 out of 190 in 2019 (↓6)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 37 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 28 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (37.1%)   Machinery & transport equipment (34.7%)
Manufactured goods (18.8%)   Manufactured goods (17.7%)
Others (16.7%)   Others (14.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (27.7%)   Germany (28.2%)
Czech Republic (6.5%)   China (8.1%)
UK (6.4%)   Russia (6.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Poland is a presidential republic in Central Europe. The president, directly elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, is the head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces. The president appoints the prime minister, who leads the cabinet responsible for devising government decision and implementing government policies. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting of a 100-seat Senate (upper house) and a 460-seat Sejm (lower house). Currently, the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has secured a majority in the parliament. The next parliamentary and presidential elections are due in late 2019 and mid-2020 respectively. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda is likely to run for re-election in 2020.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


The Polish economy has continued to perform strongly in recent years, fueled by accommodative monetary and fiscal policies, substantial European Union’s (EU) funding and strong wage growth. Real GDP growth in 2018 was estimated to grow slightly, but the upswing appears to have recently peaked. Growth in the medium term is projected to moderate, as major trading-partners’ demand slows and potential output is increasingly held back by labour shortage amid a tight labour force.

The country registered a small current surplus in 2017, but is expected to swing back into deficit in 2018 and subsequent years as robust household consumption and higher investment push up import costs. In October 2018, Standard & Poor’s raised its long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating on Poland to 'A-' from 'BBB+' with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects the country’s strong track record of balanced economic growth and fiscal prudence, as well as the diversity and competitiveness of its economy.
 

Hong Kong – Poland Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Poland increased by 32.3% from HK$9.96 billion in 2017 to HK$13.18 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Poland were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+27.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+1.5%) and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+36.3%), which represented 69.4% of total exports to Poland.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Poland. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 7.3% and 31.4% respectively, and insured business decreased by 20.1%. Major insured products were electronics, metallic products and electrical appliances, which represented 54.8% of HKECIC’s insured business on Poland. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Poland has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (January to December 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 18 January 2019

       
Flag and map of Thailand

 
Key Information
Capital   Wellington
Population   4.7 million
Area   270,534 sq km
Currency   New Zealand Dollar (1 NZD = 0.6812 USD as of 16 January 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 1 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 18 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 15 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Dairy products (26.1%)   Machinery & electrical equipment (22.8%)
Meat products (12.4%)   Transport equipment (18.1%)
Forestry products (8.7%)   Mineral fuels (9.4%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (22.3%)   China (18.7%)
Australia (16.6%)   Australia (12.2%)
USA (9.8%)   USA (10.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with Queen Elizabeth II titular head of state, represented in the country by the Governor-General. The legislative is a unicameral House of Representatives with 120 members, elected for a three-year term using mixed-member proportional representation. Currently, the government is led by the prime minister and Labour Party’s leader, Jacinda Ardern, who has been in power since October 2017. The country enjoys a stable political environment and ranks highly internationally for its governmental transparency and low levels of corruption. The next general election is due in November 2020.

 

New Zealand maintains close ties with Australia, and their relationship is formally underpinned by the Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement signed in 1983. Meanwhile, New Zealand plays an active role in Pacific affairs. It has constitutional ties with the Pacific territories of Niue, the Cook Islands and Tokelau.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


New Zealand’s economy has enjoyed a solid expansion since 2011, driven by reconstruction spending after the 2011 and 2016 earthquakes, an accommodative monetary policy, a persistent net migration wave and strong external demand from Asia. However, economic growth has decelerated to 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2018, the slowest in nearly five years, tempered by weaker construction activity and food manufacturing. It is widely expected that the central bank would keep its main policy rate on hold to support growth.

 

The island country is a strong proponent of trade liberalisation and has numerous free trade agreements (FTA), largely with its Asia-Pacific neighbours. These include FTAs with Australia, China, Hong Kong, ASEAN, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. New Zealand was also the first developed western nation to join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

 

Hong Kong – New Zealand Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to New Zealand increased by 24.1% from HK$4,170 million in 2017 to HK$5,175 million in 2018. The top three export categories to New Zealand were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+12.8%), (2) power generating machinery and equipment (+3144.6%) and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+0.4%), which represented 56.3% of total exports to New Zealand.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in New Zealand. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 13.7% and 46.9% respectively, while insured business increased by 4.5%. Major insured products were clothing, printed matters and food, which represented 66.3% of HKECIC’s insured business on New Zealand. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on New Zealand has been satisfactory, with one claim payment case reported in the past 12 months (January to December 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 January 2019

       
Flag and map of Uzbekistan

 
Key Information
Capital   Tashkent
Population   30.0 million
Area   447,400 sq km
Currency   Uzbekistan Som (1 USD = 8,355 UZS as of 15 January 2019)
Official language   Uzbek
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 76 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 99 out of 160 in 2018
 
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Switzerland (38.2%)   China (23.9%)
China (15.2%)   Russia (22.7%)
Russia (10.6%)   Kazakhstan (10.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan) emerged as an independent country in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is a presidential republic with the president as head of the state elected by universal suffrage. After 25 years of ruling by first president Islom Karimov, former Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev won a landslide victory in the presidential election held in 2016. Since coming to power in 2016, Mirziyoyev has launched a number of economic and institutional reforms to open up the economy and support future growth. Prime minister, Abdulla Aripov, is the head of government nominated by parliament on the recommendation of president, while the power remains strongly vested in the president. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting Legislative Chamber (the lower house) with 135 members and Senate (the upper house) with 100 members. The next parliamentary election will be due in late 2019 or early 2020.

 

Economic Trend

Source: International Monetary Fund


Uzbekistan is based primarily on agriculture, natural resource extraction, and remittances from workers abroad (mainly Russia). The country has initiated a comprehensive reform program to open and liberalize the economy in recent years. The most significant was the liberalization of the foreign exchange market in Sep 2017, which has led the exchange rate depreciated by about 50% causing higher inflation and lower economic growth in 2017-2018. Meanwhile, the reform is expected to improve the business environment and spur foreign investment over time. Growth in 2019 is projected to remain steady at about 5% supported by higher commodity prices and major trading partner demand, according to the IMF. However, despite steady growth, the country is still starting from a low base and GDP per capita remains low.

Hong Kong – Uzbekistan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Uzbekistan decreased by 51.3% from HK$144 million in 2016 to HK$70 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Uzbekistan were: (1) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+57.7%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-66.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-37.6%), which represented 83.6% of total exports to Uzbekistan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Uzbekistani buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC).  In the past 12 months (from January 2018 to December 2018), there was no insured business on Uzbekistan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 January 2019

              
Flag and map of Jordan

 
Key Information
Capital   Amman
Population   10.5 million
Area   89,342 sq km
Currency   Jordanian dinar (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 0.71 JOD)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 104 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 73 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 84 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Manufactured goods (32.2%)   Machinery & transport equipment (27.2%)
Chemicals (20.2%)   Food & live animals (16.6%)
Food & live animals (13.6%)   Manufactured goods (14.3%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (24.9%)   China (13.5%)
Saudi Arabia (12.8%)   Saudi Arabia (13.5%)
India (8.2%)    USA (9.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (“Jordan”) is a constitutional monarchy. King Abdullah ibn Hussein al-Hashemi is the ultimate decision-making authority and has the power to dissolve parliament and appoint the prime minister. The national legislature is a bicameral National Assembly with a directly elected Chamber of Deputies of 130 members and a Senate of 75 members appointed by the king. The next election for the Chamber of Deputies will be due in 2020.

According to the United Nations, refugees accounted for nearly 10% of Jordan’s population, mainly from Syria, Palestinian and Iraq, which placed massive pressure on Jordan’s overstretched resources. In June 2018, to defuse the largest protest in the year, the king replaced the prime minister Hani Mulki by Omar al-Razzaz, a former World Bank economist with an aim to implement some critical economic reforms and maintain political stability. In January 2019, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF expressed that international donor support is more important than ever to help Jordan preserve economic and social stability as the country is still facing difficult regional conditions, including hosting a large number of refugees.

 

Economic Trend

^ Estimate * Forecasts
Source: International Monetary Fund


With few natural resources and a small industrial base, Jordan is heavily dependent on external aid as well as remittances from expatriate workers. The country is dependent on oil imports which had led to a large current account deficit. Economic growth has been hindered by the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestine as well as the civil war in Syria and violence in Iraq, which caused serious security and logistical challenges that negatively impacted the trade and tourism sectors. In June 2018, the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia extended a US$2.5 billion aid package to Jordan to help stabilize its economy amid record debt levels and unemployment. In November 2018, Moody’s has affirmed Jordan's long-term issuer at B1 and maintained the stable outlook. The stable outlook reflects Moody's view that the planned fiscal reforms will set the government's elevated debt-to-GDP ratio on a gradually declining path in the next several years..

Hong Kong – Jordan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Jordan increased by 23% from HK$1,448 million in 2016 to HK$1,782 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Jordan were: (1) telecommunications, audio & video equipment (+45.4%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+11.6%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+1.8%), which represented 78.2% of total exports to Jordan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Jordan buyers. In the past 12 months (from January 2018 to December 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 14 January 2019

            
Flag and map of Seychelles

 
Key Information
Capital   Victoria
Population   94,737
Area   455 sq km
Currency   Seychelles Rupee (1 USD = 13.6546 SCR as of 11 January 2019)
Official language   Creole, English, French
Form of government   Unitary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 96 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 86 out of 140 in 2018 (↓3)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (63.3%)   Manufactured products (50.6%)
Fuels and mining products (27.5%)   Agricultural products (30.3%)
Manufactured products (9.0%)   Fuels and mining products (19.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
France (26.2%)   UAE (38.0%)
UAE (22.6%)   France (18.8%)
UK (15.1%)   Spain (11.4%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation

Political Highlights

 

Seychelles was independent from the UK in 1976 and became a member country of The Commonwealth. It has a unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, comprising up to 35 seats, 25 of which are elected by universal suffrage, and 10 seats on the basis of proportional representation. The president, elected by universal suffrage, is empowered by the 1993 constitution to rule by decree. The former president, James Michel, who was elected to a third term in December 2015, resigned in September 2016. Danny Faure, the former vice-president, will complete the remainder of his five-year term. The next presidential and legislative elections are due in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

 

Economic Trend

^ Estimate * Forecasts
Source: International Monetary Fund


Seychelles lies northeast of Madagascar, an archipelago of 115 islands with around 95,000 inhabitants, three-quarters of whom live on the main island of Mahé. The country has the highest GDP per capita in Africa, but inequality remains significant. The economy has benefited from continued robust growth in tourist arrivals, which rose by 15.5% in 2017 and 8% for the first eight months of 2018. Other real activity indicators have also been strong, especially in the services sectors, which accounts for close to three-quarters of the economy. However, according to the IMF, growth is projected to moderate to around 3% during 2018?20, due to the tight monetary policy stance, the moderation of tourism sector growth, and the delay on several large hotel construction projects.

Hong Kong – Seychelles Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Seychelles increased by 75.3% from HK$16.7 million in 2017 to HK$29.3 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Seychelles were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+368.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-16.5%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+892.7%), which represented 57.4% of total exports to Seychelles.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Seychelles buyers. In the past 12 months (from January to December 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 11 January 2019

            
Flag and map of Ecuador

 
Key Information
Capital   Quito
Population   16.5 million
Area   283,561 sq km
Currency   US Dollar
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 123 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 86 out of 140 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 62 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Oil & oil products (36.2%)   Raw materials (30.5%)
Shrimp (17.0%)   Capital goods (24.5%)
Banana & plantain (16.0%)   Fuel & lubricants (20.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (31.5%)   USA (22.6%)
Vietnam (7.6%)   China (15.3%)
Peru (6.7%)   Colombia (8.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Ecuador is a presidential republic with the president as both the head of state and head of government elected for a four-year term. Lenin Moreno from the ruling Alianza Pais (AP) was elected as the country’s president in Apr 2017 after a decade of ruling by Rafael Correa. The legislature is a unicameral National Assembly with 137 seats elected in 24 provincial constituencies for a four-year term. In May and Dec 2018, Moreno announced a cabinet reshuffle with an aim for significant policy shifts apart from Correa, including the possibility of a more attractive business environment for foreign investors. The next presidential and legislative elections are due in February 2021.

 

Economic Trend

^ Estimate * Forecasts
Source: International Monetary Fund


Ecuador is dependent on its petroleum resource, which accounted for about a third of its total export earnings. Apart from oil, the country’s major export products include bananas, shrimp, coffee, cut flowers and fish etc. The country returned to a growth of 2.4% in 2017 after it has been hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2016, which caused widespread of damages. The recovery of oil prices also helped supporting its growth. In 2018, Moreno’s government has strengthened fiscal institutions and re-established a competitive private-sector driven economy. However, the country encountered a declining oil production in its mature fields. The government planned to lift output by bringing the 1.7 billion barrels in the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) field into production, but progress on this front has been slow as the reserves are located in the Amazon rainforest, which requires the grant of an environmental permit.

Hong Kong – Ecuador Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Ecuador decreased by 6% from HK$1.06 billion in 2016 to HK$1 billion in 2017. The top three export categories to Ecuador were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-6.4%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-21.0%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+2.8%), which represented 84.7% of total exports to Ecuador.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Ecuador buyers. In the past 12 months (from January 2018 to December 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported against Ecuador buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 11 January 2019

              
Flag and map of Oman

 
Key Information
Capital   Muscat
Population   4.6 million
Area   309,500 sq km
Currency   Omani Rial (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 0.3845 OMR)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 78 out of 190 in 2019 (↓7)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 62 out of 140 in 2018 (↑15)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 43 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (67.0%)   Manufactured goods (56.6%)
Manufactured goods (17.1%)   Agricultural products (16.0%)
Agricultural products (5.8%)   Fuels and mining products (13.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (50.0%)   United Arab Emirates (38.9%)
United Arab Emirates (8.0%)   China (5.9%)
Taiwan (5.9%)   India (5.2%)

* Most recent year for which data are available
Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit, the World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Oman is an absolute monarchy wherein the Sultan of Oman is both the head of state and the head of government. Currently, the country’s political landscape is relatively stable owing to the well-entrenched autocracy under the rule of Qaboos bin Said al-Said since 1970. On the diplomatic front, Oman maintains good relationships with traditional western allies and some countries in the Middle East, and acts as a mediator between opposing sides. Meanwhile, Oman also maintains strong economic ties with China, an important trading partner and a major source of foreign direct investment.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Oman’s economy is based primarily on the hydrocarbon sector, which generates more than 60% of its export earnings and one-third of government revenue. Against the backdrop of lower oil price environment, the country has posted double-digit fiscal and current account deficits over the past few years. Nevertheless, overall economic growth is expected to pick up in 2019, owing to the recovering oil and gas output.


For economic diversification, the authorities have launched a number of pro-business reforms to attract foreign investment, including allowing fully foreign ownership of companies and implementing the foreign direct investment law. With government’s efforts and the planned completion of major infrastructural projects, Oman’s non-hydrocarbon growth is expected to grow gradually over the medium term, according to the IMF. In December 2018, credit rating agency Fitch Ratings has downgraded Oman’s long-term issuer default rating to ‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-‘ with a stable outlook, citing fiscal challenges to the oil producer from volatile crude prices.
 

Hong Kong – Oman Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Oman increased by 9.1% from HK$993 million in 2016 to HK$1,083 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Oman were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-4.2%), (2) power generating machinery and equipment (-24.7%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-26.9%), which represented 66.1% of total exports to Oman.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Omani buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications on Oman was unchanged and increased by 86.8% respectively, while insured business decreased by 18.5%. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Oman has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from January 2018 to December 2018).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 8 January 2019

 

       
Flag and map of Togo

 
Key Information
Capital   Lome
Population   7.8 million
Area   56,785 sq km
Currency   West African CFA franc (fixed to the Euro at 1 EUR = 655.957 XOF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 137 out of 190 in 2019 (↑19)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 118 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Phosphates (7.8%)   Capital goods (18.4%)
Cotton (4.9%)   Food (10.8%)
Cement & clinker (4.5%)   Petroleum products (10.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Burkina Faso (12.9%)   China (20.9%)
Benin (10.3%)   France (10.9%)
Niger (7.4%)   Japan (5.1%)

*Most recent available data
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Located in the western Africa, Togo gained independence from France in 1960. It is a presidential republic where the president, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year team, is both the Head of State and Chief of Government. The president appoints all key ministers, including the prime minister, who also serves for a five-year term. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Faure Gnassingbé, who has been in power since 2005 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2015. The legislature is the unicameral National Assembly composing of 91 members. In the legislative election held in December 2018, the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) won 59 seats in the parliament.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Togo is heavily dependent on its agricultural and extractive industries, with the agriculture alone accounting for about 50% of GDP and employing more than half of the country’s workforce. The economy is vulnerable to the occurrence of natural hazards, including droughts and water pollution. The country has been listed on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) by the United Nation (UN) since 1982. Economic growth slowed in 2017, reflecting the escalating political tension and fiscal consolidation, while is projected to accelerate slightly in 2018 on increasing exports of phosphate and cotton, which are the country’s main export commodities.


The country is supported by a three-year extended credit facility from the IMF approved in May 2017, which aimed to reduce the overall fiscal deficit substantially to ensure long-term debt and external sustainability. The IMF disbursed US$34.9 million to Togo in December 2018, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to US$139.5 million.
 

 

Hong Kong – Togo Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Togo increased by 29.8% from HK$1.47 billion in 2016 to HK$1.90 billion in 2017. The top three export categories to Togo were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+30.2%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+735.4%) and (3) petroleum, petroleum products and related materials, which represented 99.6% of total exports to Togo.

 

EHKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Togolese buyers. In the past 12 months (from January to December 2018), there was no insured business on Togo.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 7 January 2019

       
Flag and map of Portugal

 
Key Information
Capital   Lisbon
Population   10.3 million
Area   91,906 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 USD = 0. 872805 EUR as of 28 December 2018)
Official language   Portuguese
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 34 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 34 out of 140 in 2018 (↑8)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 23 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery and transport equipment (27.2%)   Machinery & transport equipment (30.7)
Foods, drinks and tobacco (10.8%)   Chemicals and related products (13.3%)
Chemicals and related products (8.8%)   Foods, drinks and tobacco (13.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Spain (25.9%)   Spain (33.1%)
France (12.6%)   Germany (13.4%)
Germany (11.7%)    France (7.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Portugal is a semi-presidential republic wherein the president is the chief of state and the prime minister is the head of the government. The country adopts a unicameral legislature made up of a 230-seat parliament, with members elected for a four-year term. Since the last general election held in late 2015, Portugal has been governed by a minority centre-left Socialist Party (PS) administration headed by António Costa, the prime minister. The minority government is backed by the Left Bloc (BE), the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Greens (PEV). The next legislative election is due in October 2019. Externally, Portugal's membership of the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and United Nations (UN) will continue to be the mainstays of the country’s foreign relations.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


The Portuguese economy performed strongly in 2017, thanks to a surge in private consumption and fixed investment. While rising energy prices have pushed up consumer prices, core inflation remains subdued. Economic growth is expected to ease in 2018 from its recent cyclical peak and gradually moderate over the medium term. Nevertheless, investment and exports should remain important drivers of growth.

The current account has been in surplus since 2013, reflecting the implementation of austerity measures in exchange for the financial bailout loan provided by the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May 2011. However, the current account balance is expected to turn negative in 2018 owing to strong import demand, according to the IMF. In December 2018, Portuguese finance minister announced that Portugal has repaid remaining EUR 4.7 billion of loans to the IMF after early repayments. The minister also said that the government maintains the objectives for 2018 and 2019 to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 121.2% and 118.5%, respectively.

Hong Kong – Portugal Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Portugal increased by 10.1% from HK$2,412 million in 2016 to HK$2,655 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Portugal were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-13.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+33.4%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (+249.8%), which represented 72.2% of total exports to Portugal.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

he Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Portugal. For 2017, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 13.3% and 19.5% respectively, and insured business increased by 4.8%. Major insured products were metallic products, furniture and electronics, which represented 73.3% of HKECIC’s insured business on Portugal. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Portugal has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (December 2017 to November 2018).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 December 2018

              
Flag and map of Malta

 
Key Information
Capital   Valletta
Population   0.4 million
Area   316 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.146 USD as of 21 December 2018)
Official language   Maltese and English
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 84 out of 190 in 2018/19 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 36 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 69 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Fuel (32.8%)   Machinery & transport equipment (49.5%)
Machinery & transport equipment (32.0%)   Fuels (37.6%)
Chemicals (12.4%)   Food (13.9%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Germany (10.7%)   Italy (19.5%)
France (6.3%)   Germany (6.7%)
Italy (5.8%)   UK (6.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Malta was independent from the UK in 1964 and became a member country of The Commonwealth. It is a parliamentary republic wherein the president is the head of state elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term. Current President Marie?Louise Coleiro Preca was elected in April 2014. Prime minister, Joseph Muscat, is the head of government and his Labour Party (PL) holds a majority in parliament with 37 of the 67 seats at the snap election held in June 2017, which provides a strong mandate for the government to pursue its reform strategy. Pension and healthcare reform remains the key agenda for the government given the country’s aging population which put pressure on its public finances.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Malta is one of the smallest nations in the world, and remains one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, aided by a rapid expansion of export-oriented services, favorable labor market dynamics, and prudent policies. Economic growth in recent years continued to be robust, supported by strong export performance from the e-gaming and tourism sectors.

In September 2018, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its 'A-/A-2' long-term and short-term sovereign credit ratings on Malta. The ratings on Malta are supported by its strong growth performance, recurring current account surpluses driven by its large services exports, and the improving general government budgetary position and fiscal management.

Hong Kong – Malta Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Malta decreased by 37.5% from HK$205 million in 2016 to HK$128 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Malta were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-13.8%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-33.3%), and (3) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (+61.5%), which represented 54.9% of total exports to Malta.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Malta buyers. In the past 12 months (from December 2017 to November 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 21 December 2018

          
Flag and map of Chile

 
Key Information
Capital   Santiago
Population   18.3 million
Area   756,946 sq km
Currency   Chilean Peso (1 USD = 690.70195 CLP as of 20 December 2018)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 56 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 33 out of 140 in 2018 (no change)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 34 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Copper (40.8%)   Intermediate goods (47.6%)
Fresh fruit (7.1%)   Consumer goods (31.9%)
Salmon & trout (6.0%)   Capital goods (19.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (27.5%)   China (23.5%)
USA (14.4%)   USA (17.8%)
Japan (9.3%)   Brazil (8.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Chile is a presidential republic. The president is both the head of state and chief of government, elected by popular vote for a four-year term. The presidential authority allows for the appointment of governors of the 53 provinces and intendants of the 15 regions as well as the appointment and removal of cabinet ministers. Sebastian Pinera, who had served as president between 2010 and 2014, won the presidential election in December 2017 and took office in March 2018 for a four-year term. The country adopts a bicameral legislature, consisting of a 43-seat Senate and a 155-seat Chamber of Deputies.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


The Chilean economic cycle has been strongly correlated with copper prices, as copper accounted for about 50% of the country’s total exports in 2017. Amid the end of the commodity boom, economic growth fell from a high of 6.1% in 2011 to 1.6% in 2017, reflecting subdued confidence and sluggish investment in the mining sector. In the first half of 2018, improved external conditions and lower domestic policy uncertainty have favored an economic rebound, with growth reached 5.3% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2018. However, although Chile has attempted to diversify its export base, notably into non-traditional sectors such as fruit, salmon and wine, it remains overwhelmingly reliant on copper.

In July 2018, Moody’s downgraded the country’s sovereign rating to ‘A1’ from ‘Aa3’ and changed the outlook to stable from negative, with main factors that prompted action on the sovereign include its debt levels and weakening fiscal position. Meanwhile, the stable outlook reflects Moody’s view that the Chilean government retains important credit strengths, including high scores on governance and policy effectiveness indicators.

 

Hong Kong – Chile Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Chile decreased by 10.5% from HK$5,125 million in 2016 to HK$4,588 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Chile were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-12.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+21.5%), and (3) footwear (-28.7%), which represented 81.3% of total exports to Chile.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Chilean buyers. For 2017, the number and the amount of credit limit applications increased by 4.2% and 27.1% respectively, and insured business increased by 8.6%. Major insured products were clothing, toys, and footwear, which represented 80.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on Chile. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Chile has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case of small amount reported in the past 12 months (December 2017 to November 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 December 2018

     
Flag and map of Tajikistan

 
Key Information
Capital   Dushanbe
Population   8.9 million
Area   143,100 sq km
Currency   Tajikistani Somoni (1 USD = 9.4265 TJS as of 19 December 2018)
Official language   Tajik
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 126 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 102 out of 140 in 2018 (↓23)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 134 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Aluminium (15.8%)   Electricity (39.5%)
Cotton fibre (9.6%)   Petroleum products (9.6%)
Electricity (4.2%)   Grain (7.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Turkey (25.9%)   Russia (42.6%)
China (16.7%)   Kazakhstan (20.9%)
Russia (12.6%)   China (10.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Tajikistan is a landlocked nation in central Asia. The president serves as both the chief of state and head of government. The incumbent president, Emomali Rahmon, assumed office in 1994 and was re-elected for a fourth term in November 2013. The country adopts a bicameral parliament consisting of a 33-seat National Assembly (upper chamber) and a 63-seat Assembly of Representatives (lower chamber). The governing party People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT) holds an absolute majority in both chambers of the parliament and has a widespread presence throughout the country. The next parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for 2020.

Externally, Tajikistan maintains close ties with Russia, which provides military aids and maintains a military base in Tajikistan. In recent years, the country’s economic dependence on China is also increasing, mainly through public borrowing and infrastructure investment.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


About 93% of Tajikistan’s territory is covered by mountains and three quarters of that is under permanent snow or glaciers. Against this backdrop, the country faces obstacles to its economic development, including unstable food security, limited transport connectivity and low levels of private investment. In January 2018, the Tajikistan’s government and the World Bank signed a US$16.5 million grant agreement for a project aimed to rehabilitate and improve irrigation management, to allow farmers to increase their crops and improve their livelihoods.

The Tajikistani economy is hinged on remittances from citizens working abroad (mostly in Russia), contributing about one-third of its GDP in 2017. With the Russian economy returning to positive growth, Tajikistan’s economic growth accelerated to 7.1% in 2017 and 7.2% in the first half of 2018. However, according to the World Bank, the medium-term outlook is subject to downside risks including its narrow and concentrated export basket, ailing banking sector, high contingent liabilities of state-owned enterprises, and rising debt pressures.

Hong Kong – Tajikistan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Tajikistan increased by 92.5% from HK$6.9 million in 2016 to HK$13.2 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Tajikistan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+345.5%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-29.3%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods, watches and clocks, which represented 98.6% of total exports to Tajikistan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Tajikistan with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from December 2017 to November 2018), there was no insured business on Tajikistan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).