Consumer confidence falls slightly in the Greater China region

Yvonne Lee

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​Results in the latest survey that the Department of Management Sciences at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) participated in shows consumer confidence level has decreased in the Greater China region.

Compared to the last quarter, confidence index scores fell by 5.2, 3.6, 4.3 and 1.8 in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan respectively. The consumer indexes in Hong Kong and Macau are very close, down 4% and 5% from the last quarter, respectively.

The maximum score in the Consumer Confidence Index is 200, representing “complete confidence”. The lowest score is 0, representing “no confidence”. Scores below 100 suggest consumers “lack confidence”, while those above suggest “relative confidence”.

Among the six economic aspects that the index measures, confidence for housing purchases in Hong Kong is far below 100. Individual index scores for employment, economic development, stock investments and commodity prices are between 70 and 100. Hong Kong scores slightly above 100 in only one of the individual indexes – living standards. (See table 1)



The biggest concern for Hong Kong consumers remains housing purchases. The housing purchases index is at 48.3, the lowest of all individual indexes. However, it has increased by 11.0% compared to the last quarter, indicating a slight increase in confidence. (See table 1)

The index for commodity prices is at 74.3, but despite the increase by 14.1% compared to the previous quarter, it is still the second lowest among individual indexes. Indexes for economic development and stock investments are at 84.0 and 78.2, which fell by 12.3% and 18.7%, respectively, from the last quarter. This shows that citizens are less confident about economic development and stock investments compared to the last quarter. In terms of employment, the confidence level is at 96.8, which fell by 7.9% compared to the last quarter. This shows that Hong Kongers are neutral and slightly pessimistic about employment. (See table 1)

The index for living standards is at 108.7, similar to the previous quarter. It is the highest of the six individual indexes, but only slightly higher than 100, suggesting that the confidence level is just neutral. (See table 1)

In the Greater China region, mainland China has the highest confidence in the third quarter of 2015 (97.2), followed by Taiwan (84.0); Hong Kong (81.7) and Macau (81.6) have similar scores this quarter. (See Chart 1)

The Chinese Consumer Confidence Index was launched in the 1st quarter of 2009, and is released quarterly. It allows industry professionals and experts to analyse and compare consumer sentiment towards economic development, employment, commodity prices, living standards, housing purchases and stock investments in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The index is compiled by five universities in the four regions of Greater China. CityU is responsible for the research in Hong Kong. The 3rd quarter survey for 2015 in Hong Kong was conducted from 12 September to 5 October in 2015. The survey interviewed 1,001 residents aged 18 or above who live in Hong Kong most of the time.

 

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