17 July 2003 | Robin Parker
Economic activity in Hong Kong has rebounded from an all-time low following the containment of the Sars virus.
The Hong Kong purchasing managers' index (PMI), compiled by NTC Research, showed economic growth for the first time in four months in June, to reach 50.2, above the 50 mark that indicates no change.
There were fewer job cuts and more new orders than at any time since March. At the virus's peak in April, the index plumbed a record low of 38.1.
The findings come as the CIPS-sponsored UK construction and services indices reported robust growth at 53.3 and 54.5 respectively. The contraction in manufacturing slowed, at 49.2.
Paul Ng, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong branch of CIPS, said the upwards turn in the index was encouraging.
"Firms report that new orders are growing at the most robust rate in a year, owing to the recovery of customer confidence."
Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation formally announced the containment of Sars, which killed 800 people.
A report into the effects on the electronics industry by market research firm iSuppli said that Sars-hit supply chains were disrupted more by falling sales of consumer products than by problems and closures at factories.