The Hang Seng is down close to 2% after the HSBC October flash PMI which showed its lowest reading since 2008. Production and new orders declined at a rate significant enough to raise concerns over growth in the Chinese economy. New export orders improved at a rate at odds with new orders and output generally. Given that these are only provisional numbers it may not make sense to read too much into them, but the disparity between new export orders and domestic orders suggests that domestic demand could be contracting at a faster rate than the overall PMI readings suggest..
Quarter on quarter real export growth, Q3 over Q2 is at its lowest level since 1998 and before that 1985. Q3 has historically always been a strongly positive export quarter unlike Q4 and Q1, so this is significant. Q3 2011 is worse than Q3 2008. Additionally, second quarter growth on first quarter growth was also the lowest on record, based on historical quarterly data going back to the 1970s.
Likewise imports of goods (usually for re-export) is at its lowest level since 1998.