Hong Kong consumers still “lack confidence”

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Hong Kong consumers still lack confidence when it comes to their spending, but they are more optimistic than in the last quarter, a study conducted by the Department of Management Sciences at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has shown. The Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Index (HKCCI) in the 4th quarter of 2013 stands at 83.9, up 1.9% from the last quarter (82.3). (See table 1.)
 
The HKCCI uses a scale of 0 to 200, with 0 representing “no confidence” and 200 representing “complete confidence”. Indexes below 100 suggest consumers “lack confidence”, while those above suggest “relative confidence”.
 
Among the six economic aspects that the study measures, four recorded indexes below 100: housing purchases, commodity prices, stock investments and economic development. Only two recorded indexes above 100: employment and living standards. (See table 1.)
 
Hong Kong consumers are most concerned about commodity prices and housing purchases. The index for commodity prices is 53.8, down 3.8% from the last quarter. Although the index for housing purchases increased 9.5% to 54.1, it still shows that local consumers lack confidence.
 
The indexes for stock investments and economic development are 90.4 and 95.2, respectively, both up from the last quarter, but still indicating that people are slightly pessimistic about these aspects.
 
Hong Kong people feel more neutral about employment and living standards. The index for employment is 106.5, up 5.8% from the last quarter, while the index for living standards decreased 3.8% to 103.6.
 
In the Greater China region, mainland China recorded the highest confidence index (91.3) in the 4th quarter of 2013, and Macau came second (86.3), followed by Hong Kong (83.9) and Taiwan (77.5). The findings are consistent with results from the previous three quarters. (See table 2.)
 
The Chinese Consumer Confidence Index was launched in the 1st quarter of 2009. The overall consumer confidence score is an integrated index measuring consumer sentiment towards economic development, employment, commodity prices, living standards, housing purchases and stock investments. It reflects the confidence level of consumers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The index is compiled by five universities in four places in the Greater China region. CityU is responsible for the research in Hong Kong. The 4th quarter survey for 2013 in Hong Kong was conducted from 22 December 2013 to 3 January 2014. The survey interviewed 1,012 residents aged 18 or above who live in the territory most of the time.
 
Table 1: The Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Indexes (last 4 quarters)
Categories
1st quarter
2013
2nd quarter
2013
3rd quarter
2013
4th quarter
2013
Economic development
89.9
89.0
94.0
95.2
Employment
99.4
98.7
100.7
106.5
Commodity prices
53.8
57.6
55.9
53.8
Living standards
102.1
101.5
107.7
103.6
Housing purchases
49.9
51.6
49.4
54.1
Stock investments
86.9
85.5
86.2
90.4
Overall CCI
80.3
80.6
82.3
83.9
 

 
Media enquiries:
Liu Miao, Central University of Finance and Economics (Tel: 86-13810361564)
Yvonne Lee, Communications and Public Relations Office, City University of Hong Kong (Tel: 852-3442 6807 / 852-6050 2293)

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