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Friday, Mar 31, 2023

Bad money year for six of our eight unis

Bad money year for six of our eight unis

Six of Hong Kong's eight publicly-funded universities saw deficits in the past school year due to investment losses, with City University topping the list at HK$1.4 billion.
According to CityU's annual report, investment losses were over HK$1.2 billion due to factors like the Russia-Ukraine war and mainland lockdowns.

The University of Hong Kong and Education University also saw losses of HK$980 million and HK$31 million after making HK$3.42 billion and HK$80 million in 2020/21. Polytechnic University had a HK$330 million surplus despite HK$500 million in investment losses. It made HK$1.46 billion in 2020/21.

CityU's investment loss of nearly HK$1.22 billion almost offset its investment return of nearly HK$1.24 billion, with university council treasurer Charles Chin Ying-on also citing tighter monetary policies as factors that "created uncertainty and a darker financial outlook for the second quarter of 2022." It made HK$980 million the year before.

HKU would have had a surplus had it not been for investment losses and said financial markets were hit by inflation and rate hikes, resulting in a loss of nearly HK$2.2 billion in interest and investment income.

EduHK said "losses from the investment portfolios were the main factor that reduced the value of the university's assets."

It said many challenges lie ahead, including inflation and tight monetary policies that affect funding, a declining school-age population that affects curriculum development, and recruitment difficulties due to a lack of talents, but stressed that it still had HK$1.56 billion in fiscal reserves.

Together with Chinese University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Baptist University, which reported their financial performance earlier, at least six of the eight universities saw losses.

CUHK recorded a deficit of HK$610 million, mainly due to geopolitical and financial market volatility, after making HK$2.94 billion the year before.

Baptist University and HKUST lost about HK$400 million and HK$230 million, a plunge from HK$1.02 billion and HK$2 billion in profits previously.

Lingnan University has not published its annual report and financial statements for the past school year.

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