Hong Kong may have already entered into a technical recession in the third quarter to last month, based on one leading indicator, and other economists are projecting six months of sequential economic contraction from this month. The September rating on the purchasing manager's index compiled by London-based Markit Economics fell to 46.7 points, from 48.5 points in August and 49.3 points in July. A reading under 50 indicates a contraction of economic activity and above 50 indicates an expansion. 'The September reading is consistent with GDP contracting at a quarterly rate of 0.4 per cent ... The data points to an increased likelihood of Hong Kong being technically in recession,' said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson. GDP fell 1.4 per cent between the first and second quarters. Hong Kong's last technical recession - two consecutive quarters of sequential growth declines - came during the 2003 Sars outbreak. The city has seen two full recessions - two consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth declines - in the past 18 years: in 2001-02 after the United States terrorist attacks and 1998 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.