In Focus
ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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One in four businesses expects operating situation to worsen in Q4

Hiring in manufacturing, retail expected to decrease during the quarter.

More Hong Kong businesses expect their business situation to worsen than to get better in Q4, although expectations have improved overall, according to the latest data released by the Census & Statistics Department C&SD).

For all surveyed sectors taken together, a quarter or 25% of respondents expecting their business situation to be worse in Q4 compared to Q3 is slightly higher than that expecting it to be better (17%).

Whilst this indicates that business owners remain pessimistic for their chances, the proportion improved slightly from the 28% expecting worse conditions in Q3. A government spokesman noted that the improvement may be due to the stabilization of the local epidemic situation in September, as well as the relaxation of some social distancing measures.

However, hiring sentiment weakened in a number of sectors, the spokesman added.

Respondents in quite a number of the surveyed sectors expect their business situation to be worse on balance in Q4 as compared with Q3, C&SD noted. More respondents in the construction; transportation, storage and courier services; financing and insurance; and real estate sectors expect their situation to deteriorate in the last quarter of the year.

On the other hand, more respondents in the accommodation and food services sector expect their business situation to improve in Q4 than in the previous quarter.

In terms of volume and output, many more sectors expect their volume of business or output to increase in Q4 compared the previous quarter. More respondents in the accommodation and food services sector expect their volume of business to increase in Q4 over Q3.

In contrast, more respondents in the real estate sector expect their volume of business to decrease, as compared to those expecting it to increase.

All surveyed sectors also expect their employment to decrease or remain broadly unchanged in Q4 as compared with Q3. Respondents in the manufacturing; construction; and retail sectors expressed likelihood that their employment will decrease in Q4 over Q3.

C&SD conducted the survey from 2 September to 15 October.

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