Inflation worries hit consumer sentiment in HK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2012, 12:00am


Consumer confidence in the economy and livelihoods dropped to a four-year low in Hong Kong in the second quarter, a survey by City University shows.

The consumer confidence index fell to 77.5 in the quarter, the lowest since the quarterly study was launched in 2008. The reading in the previous quarter was 80.7.

The study found that Hongkongers worried most about inflation and exorbitant housing prices. On prices and home purchases, the index stood at 56.6 and 49.2, both lower than the readings in the previous quarter. A reading below 100 reflects a lack of confidence and above 100 shows confidence, with 200 being the most confident.

'This indicates Hong Kong consumers hold a very pessimistic view of living expenses and housing prices, which they think are too high,' said Zhang Juan, a representative of CityU.

The survey is part of a study conducted by several universities in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the mainland to track changes in consumer confidence.

According to the study, the consumer confidence index on the mainland stood at 87.2 in the second quarter, down from 90.5 in the first. But it was still higher than elsewhere in the country. In Macau, the index was 84.9 and it was 73.7 in Taiwan.

Liu Yang, director of the School of Statistics with the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, said the drop in the index on the mainland did not come as a surprise as consumer sentiment had been hit hard by the economic slowdown. The economic growth rate fell to a three-year low of 7.6 per cent in the second quarter.

'Despite the overall decline in the index, most mainland consumers are still confident the economy will improve in the next three months,' she said.

The statistics released in the study are separate from those issued by the National Bureau of Statistics each quarter.

The study polls 1,000 to 3,000 people each on the mainland and in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan through random telephone interviews every quarter, asking for their views on economic prospects, employment, prices, quality of life, home purchases and investments.


The consumer confidence index reading on the mainland in the second quarter, down from 90.5 in the first