Hong Kong most pessimistic about the prospects of coming year

December 31st, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Dec 31 (DPA) Hong Kong residents have emerged as some of the most pessimistic in the world concerning their expectations for the coming year, according to an online survey published Wednesday.Around seven out of 10 citizens - or 67 percent - of the former British colony expect 2009 to be worse than this year - almost twice the global figure of 35 percent.

The survey, carried out by market information group TNS and Gallup International, found Hong Kong people were only equalled in their gloomy outlook by the residents of hard hit Iceland who came joint top in the pessimism table.

The result is a stark contrast to the sentiments revealed in a similar survey last year that showed Hong Kong people to be the most optimistic for 2008 with 71 percent believing the year would bring them better lives.

The survey, which polled 45,700 people in 46 countries during October and December, found the people of the UN-administered Kosovo to be the most optimistic with 60 percent looking forward to a better year ahead.

City residents in mainland China emerged as the second most optimistic with 53 percent believing 2009 will be good.

Australians emerged as the third happiest with 49 percent expecting better times ahead, followed by Lebanon (48 percent), Colombia (48 percent), New Zealand (44 per cent), then Russia and India (both 42 percent).

Fears of unemployment were a the main factors affecting the mood with 84 percent of Hong Kong people believing the jobless rate would increase.

Thomas Isaac, of TNS Hong Kong and Singapore, said the results of the survey reflected the bearish views being expressed by many of the city’s businesses.

“Media reports of forecasts, the financial difficulties of several major local retailers, falling property prices, and corporate layoffs have made local people realize that the global economic turmoil is having an impact on Hong Kong,” he said.

Just as the crisis has had a swift and severe effect on the global business community, it has also dashed the optimism of local citizens equally quickly.”

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