File photo: VCG
HONG KONG, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's latest unemployment rate to be released next week is likely to reach a nine-year high, as the turbulent economic environment worldwide has put heavy pressure on Hong Kong, China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government Financial Secretary Paul Chan said on Sunday.
Global stock markets plunged sharply this week over worldwide concerns on the outbreak of COVID-19 and the falling oil prices, Chan said in his blog.
Chan predicted that the unemployment rate in Hong Kong will increase amid a global economic turmoil, with retail, accommodation, food services and construction continuing to be the hardest-hit sectors.
In order to ease the overall economic and employment situations, the HKSAR government had increased public spending.
Chan mentioned that the government had launched relief measures worth 30 billion Hong Kong dollars (3.85 billion U.S. dollars) since August last year and a 30-billion-Hong Kong dollar anti-epidemic fund to fight against the coronavirus in February, and unveiled a basket of relief measures in total of 120 billion Hong Kong dollars (15.4 billion U.S. dollars) to tackle tough economic situation in his annual budget.
Chan also added that Hong Kong's financial market and banking system remained stable. "We will keep monitoring the market and implement further measures if necessary to ensure stability," he said.