Hong Kong business sentiment shows cautious optimism for Q2 2024, according to latest survey

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19th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of Hong Kong today unveiled the findings from its Quarterly Business Tendency Survey for the second quarter of 2024. The data suggests a cautiously optimistic outlook among businesses, with a slight tilt towards improved conditions expected in the upcoming quarter.

According to the survey, 14% of respondents across all sectors anticipate an improvement in their business situation in Q2 2024 compared to the previous quarter, marginally up from 13% in the first quarter of the year. Conversely, 12% expect conditions to deteriorate, mirroring the sentiment from the first quarter.

Sector-specific results indicate varying expectations. The finance and insurance sector showed a relatively more positive outlook, with an increased number of respondents foreseeing better business conditions. On the other hand, the retail and construction sectors appeared less optimistic, with more respondents predicting a downturn than an improvement.

The survey, which collected views from March 2 to April 11, 2024, also highlighted that external events during this period could have influenced business expectations, rendering precise predictions challenging.

In terms of business volume and output, the overall expectation is for a decrease or no change in most sectors. The retail sector notably anticipates a reduction in sales volume, whereas the finance and insurance sector expects an increase.

Employment prospects also vary by sector, with real estate, finance and insurance, accommodation and food services, and construction sectors foreseeing an uptick in hiring. In contrast, the information and communications sector is braced for a potential decrease in employment levels.

Pricing strategies are also expected to remain stable in most sectors, although the accommodation and food services sector anticipates an increase in service charges and food prices. The retail sector, however, expects a decrease in selling prices.

A government spokesperson commented on the survey results, noting a slight improvement in business sentiment and hiring intentions among large enterprises compared to three months ago. However, the spokesperson cautioned that the complex external environment could continue to impact business confidence in the near term. The government remains committed to closely monitoring the situation, with hopes that ongoing local economic growth will bolster business sentiment.