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HK construction output falling

HONG KONG'S construction output has fallen to its lowest level since 1996, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Results from the Census and Statistics Department show that output fell 3.6% last year to £10.6bn, compared with £10.9bn in 1999 and £10.1bn in 1996.

A deeper slide was averted by a surge in public works to £4.4bn, compared with £4.2bn in 1999. This includes spending by the two railway corporations on the West Rail and East Rail schemes and the Tseung Kwan O line.

'Companies are already finding it difficult keeping people busy, 'warned Patrick Chan Wing-tung, secretary general of the Hong Kong Construction Association.

He predicted the continuing decline in workload would lead to cut-throat bidding and the increasingly likelihood of more scandals involving poor workmanship.

Chris Morgan, managing director of Cannonway Consultants, said: 'These figures reflect the picture we've almost come to expect in the construction industry a continuing decline in turnover.

'Not only is turnover down on the year, but turnover in the final quarter was down 3% on the third quarter of 2000.'

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