Hong Kong: Economic growth decelerates in last quarter of 2011
February 1, 2012
In the fourth quarter, GDP expanded 3.0% over the same quarter the previous year, which was below the 4.3% growth recorded in the third quarter, and marked the slowest pace of expansion since the first quarter of 2010. In the full year 2011, GDP rose 5.0%, which was down from the strong 7.0% increase in 2010 but in line with the government's forecast. Domestic demand deteriorated on the back of softer growth in both private consumption (Q3: +9.8% year-on-year; Q4: +6.4% yoy) and gross fixed investment (Q3: +11.2% yoy; Q4: +9.0% yoy). In contrast, the external sector improved somewhat. Exports of goods and services expanded 2.5% (Q3: -0.6% yoy) while imports rose 3.7% (Q3: +1.5% yoy). As a result, the net contribution from the external sector to overall growth improved from minus 4.6 percentage points in the third quarter to minus 2.1 percentage points in the fourth. A quarter-on-quarter comparison does not corroborate the deceleration suggested by the annual figures, as the economy expanded 0.3% over the fourth quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, up from the 0.1% expansion recorded in the third quarter. The government recently published its forecast for 2012 and now expects full-year growth to range from 1.0% to 3.0%.