Construction output slows in Q3

Construction output slows in Q3

Lowest rate of increase since 2011 Q2

While the construction industry is seemingly enjoying a buoyant period, latest official statistics however appear to be pointing to a slow down in the rate of growth of construction output.

According to provisional figures released last week by the Census and Statistics Department, the total gross value of construction works performed by main contractors in the third quarter of 2013 was HK$40.9 billion in nominal terms, up 5.1 percent over a year ago.

While this may seem a respectable increase on its own, when the previous quarters are looked at as well, a slowing trend appears to be forming.

For the first and second quarters of 2013, the increase in output was 15.7 and 14 percent respectively.

By way of comparison, the percentage increase for three of the quarters of 2012 was at least 27 percent each.

The latest quarterly increase is also the slowest since the second quarter of 2011 when a 3.6 percent increase was recorded.

After discounting the effect of price changes, the total gross value of construction works in the third quarter was HK$29.9 billion, up a mere 0.3 percent in real terms over a year ago.

For the private sector, the gross value of work was HK$11.7 billion, down 6.1 percent in nominal terms year-on-year.

By comparison, the public sector performed better with HK$13.6 billion, up 11.8 percent.

For locations other than construction sites, that is for work such as minor construction activities and renovation and repair, the gross value increased by nine percent to HK$15.7 billion.

With the government currently spending furiously on infrastructure projects, it should come as no surprise that when analysed by major end-use group, transport projects accounted for HK$9 billion of the output for the third quarter, up 32.6 percent over a year ago.

Major public works in progress at the moment include the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and associated works, and the five railway extension projects of the MTR Corporation (0066).

For residential buildings, the rate of increase was much slower, at only 0.6 percent to HK$9 billion.

When analysed by nature of construction activity, the value of work from civil engineering increased by 19 percent year-on-year to HK$11.2 billion while erection of architectural superstructure saw a decrease of 7.4 percent to HK$9.7 billion.

Danny Chung









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