Business expectations for the fourth quarter of 2021
For all surveyed sectors taken together, the proportion of respondents expecting their business situation to be better (14%) in the fourth quarter of 2021 over the preceding quarter is slightly higher than that expecting it to be worse (13%).
When compared with the results of the Q3 2021 survey round, the proportion of respondents expecting a better business situation in Q4 2021 is 14%, lower than the corresponding proportion of 17% in Q3 2021. On the other hand, the proportion of respondents expecting a worse business situation has increased from 11% in Q3 2021 to 13% in Q4 2021.
Analysed by sector, significantly more respondents in the accommodation and food services sector expect their business situation to be better in Q4 2021 as compared with Q3 2021, relative to those expecting a worse business situation. In the construction; transportation, storage and courier services; and financing and insurance sectors, however, slightly more respondents expect their business situation to be worse, as compared to those expecting a better business situation.
It should be noted 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 September 2, 2021 to October 12, 2021.
Volume of Business/Output
Respondents in most of the surveyed sectors expect their volume of business/output to increase on balance in Q4 2021 as compared with Q3 2021. In particular, significantly more respondents in the accommodation and food services sector expect their volume of business to increase in Q4 2021 over Q3 2021.
Respondents in most of the surveyed sectors expect their employment to remain broadly unchanged or increase on balance in Q4 2021 as compared with Q3 2021. In particular, more respondents in the accommodation and food services sector and construction sector expect their employment to increase in Q4 2021 over Q3 2021. On the other hand, more respondents in the retail sector expect their employment to decrease, as compared to those expecting it to increase.
Selling Price/Service Charge
Respondents in most of the surveyed sectors expect their selling prices/service charges to remain broadly unchanged or go up on balance in Q4 2021 as compared with Q3 2021. In particular, more respondents in the accommodation and food services sector expect their prices of food provided/service charges to go up in Q4 2021 over Q3 2021. In the construction sector, however, more respondents expect their tender prices to go down in Q4 2021 over Q3 2021.
A government spokesman said that business sentiment among large enterprises turned more cautious as compared to three months ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to cast uncertainties over the global economic outlook. Nevertheless, large enterprises in such sectors as retail, accommodation and food services, real estate, manufacturing as well as information and communications continued to expect further business expansion in the near term. Meanwhile, hiring sentiment held steady in overall terms.
The spokesman noted that while the threat of the pandemic and supply bottlenecks in many places have constrained the pace of global economic recovery, improving local employment and income conditions as well as the Consumption Voucher Scheme should render support to local economic activity in the near term. The Government will monitor the situation closely.
The survey gathers views on short-term business performance from the senior management of about 560 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 10 major sectors in Hong Kong, namely manufacturing; construction; import/export trade and wholesale; retail; accommodation and food services (mainly covering services rendered by hotels and restaurants); 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 indicates 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 Q4 2020 to Q4 2021.
Table 1 shows the net balances of views on expectations in respect of different variables for Q4 2021.
The survey results are published in greater detail in the "Report on Quarterly Business Tendency Survey, Q4 2021". Users can download the publication at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/EIndexbySubject.html?pcode=B1110008&scode=300).
Users who have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Business Expectation Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel: 3903 7263; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ends/Friday, October 22, 2021
Issued at HKT 16:30
Issued at HKT 16:30