"It is predicted that demand for e-tailing will pick up soon, as the US government acts to defer tariffs on consumer goods amid the online shopping promotion season," said the DHL press release.
Among the points made, was that 60 per cent of local exporters now believe that the additional tariffs by the US are directly affecting them, up from last quarter's 36 per cent.
Second, while Q4 is traditionally a peak season for air traders, expectations for air exports and air imports saw downturns this quarter as overall air trade dropped in all regions of the world.
Aside from the ongoing trade dispute between China and the US, which 58 per cent of the respondents consider as their biggest concern, the shaky global economy also explained the reason for caution.
While markets in the Americas and Europe continued to cool this quarter, exports to Japan also experienced a dip as the hike in the country's consumption tax came into effect in October.
Watches, clocks and jewellery inched up a point compared to last quarter, despite the generally weakened demand. Food and beverage remain the strongest sector, despite the downtrend across all air-freighted commodities. the release said.
Commissioned by DHL Express Hong Kong and compiled by the Hong Kong Productivity Council, the DHL Hong Kong Air Trade Leading Index is the first indicator of its kind in Hong Kong and aims to provide a forward-looking perspective on overall air export and import trade volumes.