Hongkongers more upbeat about economy, survey shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 October, 2009, 12:00am

Consumer confidence in Hong Kong has strengthened significantly this quarter from the previous one, but there is no significant improvement in investment sentiment, a survey shows.

The Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre's latest consumer confidence index - which is based on a phone poll of 1,008 people last month - is at 115.4, more than 15 points higher than the base of 100 set in June.

The foundation is a think tank close to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

The figure indicates that consumer confidence in economic expectations and behaviour between October and December has significantly strengthened compared with that for the previous quarter surveyed.

The consumer expectation index, which shows consumer confidence in the next 12 months, is at 105.1.

'As the global economy is back on a more stabilised path, Hong Kong's economy has started to bounce back, and consumer confidence is clearly strengthening,' Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, chairman of the centre, said. 'But our expectations index reveals that consumer confidence is more of a short-term nature at this stage.'

The indexes were calculations based on answers from respondents on their perception of Hong Kong's economy, employment and household income as well as their purchasing behaviour and expectations.

However, the index covering respondents' investment in financial products for the next three months was at 105.2, a slight rise of 5 per cent compared with the assessment in June. This reflected consumers' caution about investments following the financial crisis, Wu said.

Global market research company Synovate, which surveyed 1,668 affluent local residents, found that the monthly average bill on credit cards rose year on year to US$1,124 in the second quarter from US$978.

Separately, a City University of Hong Kong survey showed that about 65 per cent of the 943 recruiters in the financial services sector had employed fresh graduates from universities in the previous quarter or planned to recruit them in the next three months.