BUSINESS Hong Kong economy to resume positive growth in 2021, says HKSAR finance chief


Hong Kong economy to resume positive growth in 2021, says HKSAR finance chief


21:31, February 24, 2021

Hong Kong's economy is expected to resume positive growth in 2021, and its recovery to gather steam in the second half of the year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said on Wednesday.

Paul Chan, Hong Kong's financial secretary, delivers his budget speech at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China, February 24, 2021. (Photo: CFP)

Chan has forecast Hong Kong's economy to grow by 3.5 to 5.5 percent this year, and an average of 3.3 percent every year from 2022 to 2025.

Although hard hit by the pandemic in early 2020, the mainland economy experienced a strong rebound since the second quarter, with the pandemic swiftly put under control and vigorous macro policies implemented in a timely manner, making China the only major economy in the world that achieved a positive growth in 2020, Chan said.

Hong Kong has been leveraging the support from the mainland while engaging the world. Only by making good use of the advantages of "One Country, Two Systems" with the precondition of strengthening national security can Hong Kong continue to play and even enhance its role on this front, he said.

"We have experienced many changes at different points in our history, but the support of our country has remained unchanged. With the advantages under 'One Country, Two Systems,' Hong Kong has a unique and irreplaceable role in the national development," Chan said.

$15 bln stimulus package to be rolled out

Chan also said Hong Kong will roll out counter-cyclical measures worth over 120 billion Hong Kong dollars ($15.48 billion) this year to prop up its economy reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the lingering COVID-19 spread, "Our most urgent task is to contain the epidemic and press ahead with the vaccination program," Chan said. "So that people and businesses can be back on track, and safe traveling between Hong Kong and the mainland as well as the rest of the world can be resumed as soon as possible."

The Hong Kong economy contracted by 6.1 percent in 2020 as a whole, the sharpest annual decline on record due to the COVID-19 pandemic, official data showed. The labor market was also under pressure between November and January due to a fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

(With input from Xinhua)

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