The total value of construction output could surpass the record set in 2012 as the construction industry continues to benefit from ongoing government spending on public works and property development by private developers.
According to preliminary figures from the Census and Statistics Department released last week, the gross value of construction works in nominal terms performed by main contractors for the first quarter of 2013 was HK$43.2 billion, up 14.4 percent year-on-year.
However compared with the revised total for the fourth quarter of 2012, there was an 8.6 percent drop.
Still the latest quarterly total of HK$43.2 billion represents the second best quarterly total according to the department’s records that date back to 1983.
Assuming that output is maintained at least at this level for the rest of this year, then total output for 2013 could top HK$172 billion compared with the record of HK$161.5 billion set for 2012.
Looking at the figures by sector, output in the private sector edged up slightly by 3.4 percent year-on-year to HK$11.6 billion but this was down 13.6 percent compared with the previous quarter.
The public sector continued to boom as output there jumped 24 percent year-on-year to reach HK$16.3 billion although it slid 5.8 percent quarter to quarter.
In the past few years, the government has been pouring investment into major infrastructure works such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and new railway line extensions for the MTR Corporation (0066) as well as building more public rental housing.
It has also abandoned the largely passive role it adopted during the previous decade in the supply of new sites for private housing development by scrapping the application list system altogether in favour of government-initiated land sales by tender.
For construction work carried out at locations other than construction sites, which includes minor new construction, decoration, repairs and maintenance, the gross value of work increased to HK$15.2 billion, up 14.2 percent over a year ago.
Recently awarded big contracts likely to support the high level of output in the public sector during the next few years include three civils contracts worth a combined total of HK$7.73 billion for the MTRC’s Shatin to Central Link and the Central-Wan Chai Bypass Tunnel Slip Road 8 Section worth HK$4.8 billion.
Big contracts yet to be awarded include the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link Northern and Southern Connections and the reprovisioning of Yaumatei Specialist Clinic of Queen Elizabeth Hospital.