HONG KONG, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Paul Chan, financial secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, said on Sunday that Hong Kong's economy will continue to improve with the support of the motherland's package of measures.
Chan said in his blog that taking into account the strong performance of Hong Kong's economy in the first half of the year, the HKSAR government raised its economic growth forecast for the year to 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent from the previous 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent.
Chan believed that as the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong remained under control and also with the support of the motherland, Hong Kong's economy will continue to have room for improvement.
Hong Kong's economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, down slightly from 8 percent in the first quarter but marking the second consecutive quarter of rebound. Hong Kong's economy grew 7.8 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, Chan said.
Chan said thanks to the strong exports from the mainland, Hong Kong's overall goods exports have risen for four consecutive seasons, with a year-on-year increase of 20.2 percent last quarter.
Meanwhile, the stable epidemic situation in Hong Kong has provided a favorable environment for economic growth, he said, adding that the fixed investment increased by 23.8 percent year-on-year in the last quarter and private consumption expenditure grew by 6.8 percent in the last quarter.
As private consumption spending continues to improve, the unemployment rate in Hong Kong to be released later this week is expected to fall further from the current 5.5 percent, he added.
The strength of the momentum of Hong Kong's economic growth will, however, depend on the epidemic situation in Hong Kong and other places around the world in the months ahead, Chan said.
The financial chief also said that Hong Kong's jobless rate rose from 3.4 percent at the beginning of 2020 to a high of 7.2 percent at the beginning of this year due to the impact of social unrest and epidemic.
Although the employment situation in Hong Kong has improved significantly in recent months, he said, it will be difficult for the jobless rate to fall to the low level in a short time unless the epidemic situation is completely controlled and Hong Kong resumes personnel exchanges with the mainland and the international community.
Moreover, Chan said, Hong Kong must create favorable social and economic conditions, strive to maintain social security and stability, and avoid external political interference, so as to enable its economy to develop continuously.
He said the country has made every effort to safeguard Hong Kong's security, stability, prosperity and development by enacting the national security law in Hong Kong and improving the electoral system in the HKSAR. In addition to the anti-foreign sanctions law that will soon be implemented in Hong Kong, these are all powerful responses to emerging challenges and are all for the long-term steady development of Hong Kong.