HONG KONG, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Decline of business activities in Hong Kong accelerated in August to near-record levels as protests continue to dampen demand, London-based consulting firm IHS Markit reported Wednesday.
Hong Kong's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) sank to 40.8 in August, down from 43.8 in July, signaling the steepest deterioration in the health of the private sector since February 2009, according to IHS Markit's PMI survey.
The only other time that the PMI survey has recorded a steeper downturn was during the SARS epidemic in 2003 and the global financial crisis in 2008, said Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit.
PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of economic performance derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers' delivery times and stocks of purchases. Figures greater than 50 indicate overall improvement of the economy.
Almost all aspects surveyed for the PMI indicator were worsening in Hong Kong with widespread pessimism and record-low business confidence, according to the report.
"The latest PMI data reveal a Hong Kong economy flirting with recession in the third quarter as business activity is increasingly aggravated by protest-related paralysis," Bernard Aw added.