Hong Kong business activity falls to its 21-year low: IHS Markit survey

The Purchasing Manager’s Index survey reveals a deepening of an economic crisis in Hong Kong – one of Asia’s leading financial hub.

An IHS Markit survey that was published on Tuesday shows, business activity in Hong Kong’s private sector has fallen to its 21 year nadir in October on the back of increased Chinese aggression to curb a surging mass movement towards democracy.

More than five months of street protests, have taken a toll on the city’s retail and tourism sector, with preliminary government data showing that Hong Kong’s economy has fallen into a recession during the third quarter, for the first time in a decade.

China’s mishandling of these protests have largely fueled growing anger towards mainland Chinese people.

According to the survey, demand from mainland China has also declined at its sharpest pace with companies cutting back on their purchase.

“Hong Kong’s private sector remained mired in one of its worst downturns for the past two decades during October, with the latest PMI survey signaling a deepening economic malaise,” said Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit.

He went on to add, “As new orders continued to fall sharply, led by a record decline in demand from mainland China, firms were becoming increasingly pessimistic about the outlook.”

Its seasonally adjusted headline Hong Kong Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) fell to 39.3 in October, down from 41.5 in September and signaling the worst deterioration since November 2008, during the global financial crisis.

A survey reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a figure below 50 denotes contraction.

The citizens of Hong Kong are angry at Beijing’s attempt to install a vice-life grip over the city’s cherished freedoms promised “one country, two systems” formula when Britain returned it to Chinese rule in 1997.

Protests escalated in mid-June and shows no sign of abating with demonstrators keeping up their calls for universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into excessive police brutality, among other demands.

Police have fired rubber bullets and China-made lethalised tear gas at protesters, who have largely shown restraint in the face of escalating violence.

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