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Survey points to weakest quarter in 21 years

A SURVEY showed Hong Kong economy is on course for the weakest quarter in 21 years in the fourth quarter of 2019. The average reading of Hong Kong’s Purchasing Manager’s Index for October and November combined stood at 38.9, IHS Markit said yesterday in a report, stressing that the level pointed to the weakest quarterly economic performance since the London-based consulting firm started the survey on the financial hub in 1998. PMI fell to 38.5 in November from 39.3 in October, signaling the worst deterioration in the health of the private sector since April 2003. Bernard Aw, the principal economist of IHS Markit, said business activity shrank at the steepest rate on record amid the escalating social unrest and predicted a GDP fall of 5 percent in the fourth quarter unless there is a dramatic recovery in December. “November PMI data indicated that Hong Kong’s private sector suffered its worst downturn since the 2003 SARS crisis, with the latest survey indicators painting a picture of gloom for the Special Administrative Region,” Aw said. New sales registered the steepest decline for 11 years.
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