Hong Kong people most pessimistic about 2009: survey
AFP - 1 hour 17 minutes ago
HONG KONG (AFP) - - Hong Kong people are more gloomy about the prospects for 2009 than anyone else in the world, while mainland Chinese are among the most optimistic, a worldwide survey released Thursday said.
Sixty-seven percent of the 1,013 people polled in Hong Kong by research firms TNS and Gallup International between October and December believed that 2009 would be worse than 2008 -- almost double the global figure of 35 percent.
Just five percent said Hong Kong would become more prosperous this year, although 65 percent of full-time and part-time employees are confident that their jobs are secure.
The survey interviewed 45,700 people in 46 countries and regions.
The downbeat mood in Hong Kong is in stark contrast to findings from a similar survey conducted by the same organisations 12 months earlier, which ranked people in the Chinese territory as the most optimistic in Asia.
The same level of pessimism was recorded in Iceland, one of the countries worst hit by the global financial crisis. The other pessimists included Singapore, Ireland, Greece, and Croatia.
Thomas Isaac, director of research services for TNS Hong Kong and Singapore, said the latest findings reflected the bearish views being expressed by many of the city's most respected business organisations.
These included a forecast that Hong Kong's unemployment rate would climb to five percent by the middle of 2009, he said.
"Just as this crisis has had a swift and severe effect on the global business community, it has also dashed the optimism of local citizens equally quickly," he said.
By contrast, mainland China has the second highest level of optimism after Kosovo, with 53 percent of those polled saying they were looking forward to a brighter new year. Other optimists included Australia, Lebanon, Colombia, and New Zealand.
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