Hong Kong’s business activity ends 3-yr decline in output, orders: survey

Hong Kong’s private sector started the second quarter of the year on a positive note as three-year long sequences of decline in output and new orders came to an end, a private survey showed Wednesday.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of the financial hub compiled by consulting firm IHS Markit posted 50.3 in April following a reading of 50.5 in March, representing the third successive month in which a marginal improvement in business conditions has been recorded.

A PMI greater than 50 indicates expanding business activity, while a figure lower than 50 indicates the contraction.

Business confidence also improved to the highest in more than seven years, with the COVID-19 epidemic brought under control and more people vaccinated, and employment increased for the third month running, according to the survey.

After facing challenging business conditions over a number of years, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Hong Kong firms, Andrew Harker, economics director at IHS Markit, said.

IHS Markit forecasts Hong Kong’s economy to grow 4.4 percent in the full year of 2021.

The economy got off to a strong start of this year as fast-recovering exports helped end prolonged contraction since the third quarter of 2019. Gross domestic product of Hong Kong surged 7.8 percent year on year in the January-March period.

The survey was based on responses of purchasing managers in a panel of around 400 private sector companies covering manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail and services.