Protests deliver a blow to Hong Kong’s economy

Hong Kong’s business conditions in October worsened the most in more than three years in part because of continuing pro-democracy protests, according to the compilers of an economic benchmark.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index for the city from HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics was at 47.7 last month, down from 49.8 in September, the sharpest decline since September 2011. A reading below 50 signals contraction.

The index signaled “a marked deterioration in operating conditions faced by private sector businesses that was widely attributed to ongoing political protests”, HSBC said in a statement.

Demonstrators took to the streets on September 26 after a Chinese decision in August that candidates for the city’s position of chief executive in 2017 must be vetted by a nominating committee.

Police used tear gas and pepper spray in September in a failed attempt to disperse tens of thousands of demonstrators, and some parts of the city remain occupied by pro-democracy activists.

Private sector employment fell for a seventh consecutive month in October, in the biggest drop in 16 months, and companies cut selling prices for the first time since April 2013, in an attempt to stimulate demand, according to HSBC.



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