Grade A office rents in Central could decline a further 13% in the second half of the year on top of a 27% fall in the first half, taking them back to mid-2006 levels, according to CB Richard Ellis.

The sombre projection from CBRE comes as the Hong Kong office leasing market continues to suffer from a serious contraction as businesses cut back on costs and reduce headcounts and space requirements as a result of the economic recession.

The leasing market on Hong Kong Island recorded a 'negative absorption' of 890,857 square feet of space in the first six months of the year, CBRE said.

South China Morning Post