Hong Kong stocks took a beating this week, with the Hang Seng Index closing at 17,668.83 today, two days in a row below 18,000 points.
Sentiment turned sour on news that productivity numbers in China indicate a slowing down of its economy with fewer orders from the United States and Europe.
Analysts also believe the weak numbers indicate a global recession though many are reluctant to say the "R" word.
A few weeks ago there was a news story about how wine auctions are not as hot as before. At a recent Christie's auction, 12 bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2008 sold for $17,719, only half the price reached in October 2010. Also up for grabs was a 300-bottle collection from the same famed chateau that sold for HK$4.2 million, but fell short of the presale estimate of HK$4.5 million.
So is this the beginning of the recession?
We shall see in the next few weeks.
If there are fewer lines in front of Louis Vuitton and Chanel then we'll know. Either the nouveaux riche Chinese are hiding their ostentatious wealth or the tap is drying up.