Hopes of a better economic outlook have been dashed by shrinking demand from across the border and the lingering Occupy Central movement, according to a HSBC/Markit survey. The purchasing managers' index, which gauges business conditions in Hong Kong's private sector economy, contracted for the fourth month in a row last month, at 48.8, up marginally from 47.7 in October. Any figure below 50 denotes contraction and any reading above 50 signals expansion. Hong Kong, which relies heavily on imports and trade from the mainland, saw cross-border new business shrink last month at the fastest rate in more than five years, the monthly survey of 300 firms found. Hong Kong companies were also slashing prices at the sharpest magnitude since 2009 to spur business, resulting in reduced profits. Some of the companies revealed relatively subdued demand last month, blaming protesters' occupation of Mong Kok, Causeway Bay and Admiralty since September 28. The Occupy movement wants the government to agree to greater democracy. "Hong Kong's economy is still weakening, although the pace of contraction lessened in November," said John Zhu, HSBC's economist in Asia. "However, there is increasing evidence that firms' margins are being squeezed due to reduced pricing power as activity contracts." He added: "Given the weakness in demand from mainland China, the risks to growth remain on the downside." Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said on Monday that the city's economy faces rising risks of failing to meet its target growth of 2.2 per cent this year due to the combined results of the protests and the challenging business environment on the mainland and in the United States.