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Local consumer confidence for the next three months weakens significantly in comparison with that of the previous quarter, according to the first quarter consumer confidence survey in 2010 released today by the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre (BFRC). BFRC commissioned the Public Governance Programme of Lingnan University to interview over 1,000 respondents in a telephone-based survey between 8 and 13 March 2010. The Bauhinia Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Index (BHKCCI) - an index of consumers’ confidence over economic expectations and behaviours in the next three months - has fallen from 127.1 in the previous survey (December 2009) to 117.7 in March 2010. BFRC Chairman, Mr Anthony Wu, said: “We believe the fall of the consumer confidence index for the first quarter of this year has much to do with the impact of seasonal fluctuations on consumption. While the previous survey was done during the peak season for consumption shortly before Christmas and the Lunar New Year, the latest survey was conducted in the traditional low-consumption season.” “But if we compare the latest BHKCCI (117.7) with that (115.4) of September 2009 (the traditional low-consumption season), the difference is minimal,” he added. There have not been any major changes to consumers’ expectations of economic conditions over the next 12 months, as reflected in the Bauhinia Hong Kong Consumer Expectations Index (BHKCEI) (from 102.4 to 102.5 during the same period). BHKCCI and BHKCEI for the base period (June 2009) are set to be 100. Detailed findings of the survey are as follows: On Hong Kong’s overall economic conditions, both respondents’ current perceptions and expectations for the next 12 months have improved slightly while their expectations for the next three months have worsened slightly, as compared with the previous quarterly survey. Respondents’ current perceptions of Hong Kong’s employment situations have significantly improved and their expectations for the next three months have improved slightly; but their expectations for the next 12 months have remained unchanged. Both respondents’ expectations of household incomes for the next three months and the next 12 months have worsened slightly. The employment situations of respondents’ family members have stayed unchanged over the past three months while modest improvement has been recorded in respondents’ expectations for the next three months.Over the past three months, there has been a very significant improvement in property purchase by respondents’ families and respondents’ expenses on daily necessities have also improved significantly. However, their expectations for the two items for the next three months have worsened very significantly. Respondents’ spending on non-recurrent large purchases over the past three months has been on a par with the previous survey, while their expectations for the next three months have worsened significantly. Respondents’ investment in financial products over the past three months has worsened significantly; so are their expectations for the next three months. This two-part consumer confidence survey is the fourth one in a series of quarterly survey exercises, with the first survey completed in June 2009. Questions in the first part of the survey are related to respondents’ perception of Hong Kong’s overall economic conditions, Hong Kong’s unemployment situations and respondents’ household incomes in three timeframes (i.e. the current situation, the next three months and the next 12 months). Questions in the second part are related to respondents’ various economic and consumption behaviours for the past three months and the next three months.