Hong Kong: PMI improves in February pointing to a stabilization in activity
March 3, 2021
The IHS Markit Hong Kong SAR Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased to 50.2 in February, from 47.8 in January. As a result, the PMI was marginally above the critical 50-threshold, suggesting that operating conditions in the Hong Kongese private sector improved slightly in February relative to the previous month.
The fractional improvement in activity was likely due to firms expanding their headcounts in February and stronger business sentiment as firms turned optimistic for the first time since early 2018. That said, only Covid-19 restrictions continued to hamper output and new orders, albeit at a less severe pace than in the month prior. On the price front, input prices rose at the quickest pace since July 2018, while output charges fell as firms looked to spur demand amid strong competition.
Commenting on the latest PMI reading, Andrew Harker, economics director at IHS Markit, noted:
“With the latest wave of infections having subsided, an easing of restrictions underway and the vaccine roll-out in progress, there are now realistic hopes that the economy can return to growth in the near future. In fact, companies signalled an optimistic outlook for the first time in over three years, with sentiment at its highest since September 2014.”
Author: Steven Burke, Economist