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Hong Kong Sept PMI hits 4-month low, points to contraction

Sunday, 7 Oct 2012 | 10:30 PM ET

* Average PMI for Q3 at 50.2, slightly higher than Q2

* Output and new orders fall at fastest rate since Nov 2011

* Private sector employment fell for fifth consecutive month

* Input prices increase

HONG KONG, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Data from the HSBC Hong Kong Purchasing Managers' Index for September:

KEY DATA

Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan HK PMI 49.6 50.5 50.3 49.8 49.4 50.3 52.0 52.8 51.9

A survey reading above 50 indicates expansion. A figure below 50 denotes contraction.

CONTEXT:

* The latest PMI figure was the lowest in four months and signalled a deterioration in operating conditions in Hong Kong's private sector as output and new orders declined.

* The PMI averaged 50.2 in the three months to September, slightly better than the 49.8 registered in the three months to June.

* Output contracted in September and the index was at its lowest level since November 2011.

* The volume of new orders received by private sector companies in Hong Kong fell in September, and new orders from mainland China also declined. Total new orders fell to the greatest extent since November 2011, although the rate of contraction was marginal overall.

* Private sector employment fell for a fifth consecutive month in September.

* Input costs faced by private sector companies increased in September, with purchase prices and salary bills rising at faster rates than in August. The rate of input price inflation was moderate and the strongest in five months.

* Input inventories rose, although the rate of stock accumulation was slightly weaker than the 17-month high recorded in August.

Commenting on the Hong Kong PMI survey:

"New orders slackened slightly in September, taking Hong Kong's private sector back into contraction (albeit marginal) mode," Donna Kwok, HSBC Greater China Economist in Hong Kong, said.

"Wage growth, however, picked up at the strongest pace in four months, driven not only by inflation but also genuine business demand. This suggests that job market capacity remains tight, helping to underpin private consumption's role as a key growth driver for the economy," Kwok added.

About the Hong Kong PMI:

The data is collected by Britain-based Markit Group Ltd, and the report is sponsored by HSBC

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(Reporting by Christina Lo; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

((christina.lo@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 2843-6960)(Reuters Messaging: christina.lo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: HONGKONG/PMI