Hong Kong’s GDP Grinds to near Halt at Dismal 0.5 per Cent Growth

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  • Sluggish economy continues to slide as finance chief blames a ‘weaker global economy and various external headwinds’
  • Smallest increase in city’s GDP growth since 2009

Hong Kong’s economy has grown at its slowest quarterly rate in nearly a decade, reduced to a near standstill by weak consumer demand and shock waves from the US-China trade war, but the situation is expected to improve in the near future.

Releasing advance estimates for the first time, the city on Thursday reported a 0.5 per cent increase in gross domestic product for the first quarter, the smallest increase since the third quarter of 2009.

The weak milestone continues a worrying trend, also affected by cooling property prices and volatile stock markets, with the economy growing at a sluggish 1.2 per cent pace in the fourth quarter of last year.

“The real GDP growth eased to 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 on a year-on-year basis, weighed down by the weaker performance of the global economy and various external headwinds,” a government spokesman said. “The modest year-on-year growth in the first quarter also reflected the high base of comparison in the same quarter of last year, when the economy grew strongly by 4.6 per cent.”

The government also noted that GDP grew 1.2 per cent in real terms in the first quarter of 2019, compared with the fourth quarter of 2018.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po had estimated the city’s economy would grow by 2 to 3 per cent this year when he announced the annual budget in February. Last year the full-year figure was 3 per cent.

 

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