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Private sector stays upbeat, business buoyant

By Li Tao (China Daily)

08:21, January 07, 2013

PMI points to further expansion as local, overseas orders keep rising

The business conditions of Hong Kong's private sector continued to improve last month with the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) registering 51.7 in December, HSBC's survey on purchasing managers showed Friday.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, otherwise signals contraction.

Although the latest HSBC Hong Kong PMI fell slightly from the reading of 52.2 in November, it remains above the point of expansion, thanks to a modest rise in output and new orders, according to the bank.

The output sub-index rose to 53.7 in December, expanding at its fastest pace since February, the index showed.

New orders, the sub-index that tracks overall new business the city received, also continued the upward trend, recording 52.9 in December, and expanding for the second straight month.

Although the renewed contraction in new orders received from the mainland was noticed last month as the sub-index fell to 48.1 in December, down from 52.0 a month earlier, HSBC said respondents widely cited "improved economic conditions" in the survey, suggesting that demand at home and from abroad is "generating more than enough of a counterbalance".

The softening of new business inflows from the mainland is a concern, but can be partly attributed to a lull in post-Christmas orders, said Donna Kwok, HSBC's Greater China economist.

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