Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Finance chief Chan upbeat about Hong Kong economy; growth of up to 5.5 per cent

Finance chief Chan upbeat about Hong Kong economy; growth of up to 5.5 per cent

Chan upbeat about city’s prospects after Legco approves budget by 82-0 majority.

Hong Kong’s financial secretary has said he is optimistic about the city’s economic performance this year and predicted greater growth could be achieved if geopolitical tensions did not worsen.

The latest assessment by Paul Chan Mo-po came after the Legislative Council on Wednesday approved his 2023-24 budget with a vote of 82-0.

The only non-establishment member, Tik Chi-yuen, of the centrist Third Side party, abstained.

Chan thanked lawmakers for backing the budget and said the financial blueprint would “allow us to implement the series of measures proposed in the budget to boost the economy and relieve people’s livelihood”.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan delivers the 2023-24 budget.

He emphasised that the government would seek to “consolidate the strength” of economic recovery through more support for domestic consumption, including the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign.

Chan announced in the budget statement earlier this year that he would issue another round of consumption vouchers worth HK$5,000 (US$637) to every eligible resident. The first tranche was given out last month.

There were also HK$6,000 rebates on the salaries tax and profits tax.

The tax measures were expected to cost the government HK$9.2 billion, but benefit 1.9 million taxpayers and 134,000 businesses.

Chan said he also expected the economy to pick up momentum with the return of more tourists after the reopening of the border with mainland China.

“We hope more visitors can come to Hong Kong to see for themselves that the city remains vibrant and that it is also a good place to do business,” Chan said.

“In the past few months since we fully reopened the border, we have received quite a number of overseas business delegations and also from the mainland. The overall sentiment was positive.”

Chan predicted in February the economy would grow between 3.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent this year.

“If the external political and economic situations do not worsen, we are rather confident that we can see an expansion nearer the upper end of the forecast range for the whole year,” he told Legco on Wednesday.

Estimates released by the government said that Hong Kong’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 2.7 per cent in real terms in the first quarter of 2023 over the same period a year earlier.

That compared with a 4.1 per cent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The government attributed the growth to a “visible increase in domestic demand”.

An updated GDP growth prediction for 2023, and more detailed economic statistics for the first quarter of the year, are expected to be released on May 12.

Chan, despite his optimism, also warned lawmakers that Hong Kong had to ensure good risk management in the face of possible threats from a poor global economic outlook and international tensions.

He singled out geopolitical problems, increasing interest rates in the United States and tightened purse strings around the world.

“These problems are going to stay for some time,” Chan predicted.

The market expects another rate increase of 0.25 percentage points by the US Federal Reserve this week.

A looming debt ceiling crisis in the United States has also caused uncertainty in financial markets as hostility between Democrats and Republicans sparked fears of a potential default.

“Internally, in the short and medium term, we have manpower and talent challenges,” Chan said. “The supply is tight. Land supply is also tight in the short term. This can constrain our development.”

He earlier reported a deficit of HK$139.8 billion in 2022-23 and forecast another shortfall of HK$54.4 billion in 2023-24.

But Chan told legislators that Hong Kong’s finances remained “very sound” and there was no need to worry about short-term difficulties.

He said the 2022-23 deficit was about 5 per cent of the city’s GDP.

Tik said he could not support the budget because of the government’s policy decision to cut funding for welfare groups.

He also criticised the government for a failure to set goals for a reduction of poverty.

“The government is leading us to nowhere if it fails to set a target, like how many people you are planning to help get out of poverty,” Tik said.

But Chan maintained that the government had worked hard to ease the plight of the less well-off.

“In the past five years, our recurrent spending on social welfare services has increased by more than 50 per cent,” he said.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.