HK Sept PMI at 5-month low as new orders slow

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HONG KONG, Oct 2 (Reuters) Business activity in Hong Kong's private sector expanded at its slowest pace in five months in September as growth in new orders eased, a purchasing managers' index showed on Tuesday.

Hiring slowed as a result, although business activity was still stronger than the long-term average and companies were able to raise the prices they charged, the survey showed.

The Hong Kong PMI fell to a seasonally adjusted 53.1 in September, its lowest reading since April and down from 54.5 in August.

However, it marked the 33rd consecutive month of expansion in private-sector business activity and was above the index's long-term average reading of 51.4.

The PMI is put together by NTC Economics Ltd. A reading above 50 indicates growth in private-sector activity.

While growth in orders slowed in September, orders from mainland China held up well, the survey showed.

Companies were still hiring but at a slower pace and wage inflation was the weakest in 10 months.

Companies continued to face surging costs, pushing up prices of imports from Europe and the rest of Asia. This partly resulted from the weakness of the Hong Kong dollar , which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, which has fallen to record lows.

However, the pace of increase in costs was slower than in July and August and companies managed to raise their prices more aggressively than in the first eight months of the year to help offset inflation.

The PMI surveys 300 private Hong Kong companies in manufacturing, services, retail and construction.

Reuters MP VP0728

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