Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article news.gov.hk
Business expectations for the first quarter of 2012
***************************************************

     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (January 20) the results of the Quarterly Business Tendency Survey for the first quarter (Q1) of 2012.

Business situation

     For all surveyed sectors taken together, more respondents expect their business situation to be worse (24%), as compared to those expecting it to be better (15%),  in Q1 2012 over Q4 2011.

     This is the first time that an overall pessimistic business outlook is observed since the Q3 2009 round of the survey.  As compared to the Q4 2011 round of the survey, 7 percentage points more respondents expect the business situation to be worse while 4 percentage points less respondents expect it to be better.

     Analysed by sector, respondents in six of the 10 surveyed sectors have unfavourable business outlook for Q1 2012 on balance.  In particular, significantly more respondents in the transportation, storage and courier services sector expect their business situation to be worse, as compared to those expecting it to be better, in Q1 2012 over Q4 2011.  On the contrary, more respondents in the sectors of construction; and information and communications expect their business situation to be better, as compared to those expecting it to be worse.
 
     A spokesman of the C&SD cautioned that the results of the survey should be interpreted with care.  "In this type of survey on expectations, the views collected in the survey are affected by the events in the community occurring around the time of enumeration, and it is difficult to establish precisely the extent to which respondents' perception of the future accords with the underlying trends."  The enumeration period for this survey round was from December 6, 2011 to January 11, 2012.

Volume of business/output

     Respondents in half of the surveyed sectors expect a decrease in volume of business/output on balance in Q1 2012 over Q4 2011, and those in the transportation, storage and courier services sector have significantly more unfavourable expectation in particular.  On the other hand, more respondents in the sectors of construction; and information and communications expect their volume of business/output to increase, as compared to those expecting it to decrease.
 
Employment

     Respondents in almost all the surveyed sectors expect their employment to remain broadly unchanged or to increase on balance in Q1 2012 over Q4 2011.  Respondents in the sectors of import/export trade and wholesale; manufacturing; and information and communications expect their employment to remain broadly unchanged in Q1 2012.  In the construction and retail sectors, significantly more respondents expect their employment to increase, as against those expecting it to decrease.  

Selling price/service charge

     Respondents in many of the surveyed sectors expect their selling prices/service charges to go up in Q1 2012 over Q4 2011 on balance.  The construction; retail; and accommodation and food services sectors have more respondents expecting their selling prices/service charges to go up, as against those expecting them to go down.

Further information

     The survey gathers views on short-term business performance from the senior management of about 570 prominent establishments in various sectors in Hong Kong with a view to providing a quick reference, with minimum time lag, for predicting the short-term future economic performance of the local economy.

     The survey covers ten major sectors in Hong Kong, including the manufacturing; construction; import/export trade and wholesale; retail; accommodation and food services; transportation, storage and courier services; information and communications; financing and insurance; real estate; and professional and business services sectors.  

     Views collected in the survey refer only to those of respondents on their own establishments rather than those on the respective sectors they are engaged in; and are limited to the expected direction of quarter-to-quarter change (e.g. "up", "same" or "down") but not the magnitude of change.  In collecting views on the quarter-to-quarter changes, if the variable in question is subject to seasonal variations, respondents are asked to provide the expected changes after excluding the normal seasonal variations.

     Survey results are generally presented as "net balance", i.e. the difference between the percentage of respondents choosing "up" and that choosing "down".  The percentage distribution of respondents among various response categories (e.g. "up", "same" and "down") reflects how varied their business expectations are.  The "net balance", with its appropriate sign, indicates the direction of expected change in the variable concerned.  A positive sign indicates a likely upward trend while a negative sign, a likely downward trend.  However, the magnitude of the "net balance" reflects only the prevalence of optimism or pessimism, but not the magnitude of expected change, since information relating to such magnitude is not collected in the survey.

     Furthermore, owing to sample size constraint, care should be taken in interpreting survey results involving a small percentage (e.g. less than 10%) of respondents in individual sectors.

     Chart 1 shows the views on expected changes in business situation for the period Q1 2011 to Q1 2012.

     Table 1 shows the net balances of views on expectations in respect of different variables for Q1 2012.

     The survey results are published in greater detail in the "Report on Quarterly Business Tendency Survey, Q1 2012".  Users can download the publication free of charge from the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/commerce_and_industry/index.jsp).

     Users who have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Business Expectation Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel.: 2805 6112 or e-mail: [email protected]).

Ends/Friday, January 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:35

NNNN

Print this page