Consumer confidence rises in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau but drops slightly in Taiwan
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Data from the latest survey conducted by the Department of Management Sciences at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) show that consumer confidence index scores slightly dropped by 0.2 in Taiwan, while those in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau rose 4.4, 1.3 and 1.0 respectively in the 4th quarter of 2015. The confidence level of Hong Kong consumers stood at 83, a moderate rise of 1.6%, which is close to the same level at the beginning of 2015.
The maximum score in the Consumer Confidence Index is 200, representing “complete confidence”. The lowest score is 0, indicating “no confidence”. Scores below 100 suggest consumers “lack confidence”, while those above suggest “relative confidence”.
Among the six aspects measured by the index, confidence for housing purchases in Hong Kong is far below 100. The individual index scores for economic development, stock investments and commodity prices are between 70 and 85. The index score for employment is close to 100 and that for living standards is slightly above 100. (See Table 1)
Housing purchases remain the biggest concern for Hong Kong consumers, as shown by the confidence index score of 58.2. Although this score jumped significantly by 20.5% over the last quarter, it is still the lowest of all the individual indexes. Its absolute value shows a rather low level of confidence in housing purchases among local people. (See Table 1)
An index score of 73.2 was recorded for commodity prices, which represents a decrease of 1.5% over the previous quarter and is the second lowest among individual indexes. The index score for stock investments is 76.8, a fall of 1.8% from the last quarter. Its absolute value shows local citizens have a lack of confidence in stock investments. In terms of economic development, the confidence level is at 84.4, a marginal increase of 0.5%. (See Table 1)
For employment, the confidence level is at 99.7, which rose 3.0% as compared with the last quarter. This shows that Hong Kongers are neutral about employment. The index for living standards is at 106.0, a decrease of 2.5% against the previous quarter. It is the highest of the six individual indexes, but only slightly above 100, suggesting that the confidence level is neutral. (See Table 1)
In the Greater China region, mainland China had the highest confidence (101.6) in the 4th quarter of 2015, followed by Taiwan (83.8), Hong Kong (83.0) and Macau (82.6). (See Chart 1)
Launched in the 1st quarter of 2009, the Chinese Consumer Confidence Index 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 4th quarter survey for 2015 in Hong Kong was conducted from 19 December 2015 to 2 January 2016. For the survey, CityU interviewed 1,001 residents aged 18 or above who live in Hong Kong most of the time.