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Hong Kong economy may enter technical recession: HKSAR chief executive

2019-10-29 16:08

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HONG KONG, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that Hong Kong's economy may enter a technical recession and record a negative full-year growth for 2019, calling for ending violence soon and starting afresh for Hong Kong's future.

The HKSAR government's economic advisers are scheduled to publish on Thursday the advance estimates on Hong Kong's economic growth in the third quarter of 2019. If the quarter-on-quarter economic growth in the third quarter turns out to be negative, together with the negative growth in the second quarter, it will indicate that Hong Kong's economy is entering a technical recession, Lam told media before attending the HKSAR Executive Council meeting on Tuesday morning.

In August, the HKSAR government revised downward the real economic growth forecast for 2019 as a whole to 0 to 1 percent, from an earlier estimate of 2 to 3 percent.

However, it is now estimated that the full-year growth for 2019 can barely achieve the revised forecast and is likely to be negative, Lam said, adding that "the situation is very serious."

Lam said the HKSAR government will closely monitor the economic downturn and take measures when needed.

The HKSAR government has announced three rounds of economic relief measures since August, Lam pointed out, adding that these measures, costing a total of over 20 billion Hong Kong dollars (about 2.55 billion U.S. dollars), are very targeted, especially for the sectors of tourism, retailing, logistics and transportation.

She pledged to continue listening to the advice of different sectors and consider introducing more measures.

The chief executive emphasized that ending violence and restoring order is the premise for Hong Kong to get out of the current economic and political impasse, as well as the common aspiration of people in Hong Kong.

"The situation we are now facing is anti-government violence, so the most effective solution is to tackle the violence head-on," she said. "Until and unless we tackle the violence and put an end to it, it is very difficult to continue the political dialogue that we have done."

"Now is really the time to put in all our efforts to say 'no' to violence," Lam said. "If there are a large number of people legitimizing the violence, or even glorifying the violence, I'm afraid it will make it even more difficult for us to tackle this situation."

When calmness is restored in the community, the HKSAR government will introduce more measures to boost Hong Kong's economic growth and competitiveness, Lam said.

"We hope this day will come sooner so that we can start afresh together for the future of Hong Kong," she added.
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