Left Menu
Development News Edition

Hong Kong offers sweeteners as economy stalls amid protests

PTI | Hong Kong | Updated: 15-08-2019 19:13 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 19:13 IST
Hong Kong offers sweeteners as economy stalls amid protests

Hong Kong, Aug 15 (AFP) Hong Kong's government unveiled HK$19.1 billion (USD 2.44 billion) worth of economic relief measures and downgraded its growth forecasts on Thursday as the international hub reels from simmering pro-democracy protests and the US-China trade war. Last week city leader Carrie Lam warned that 10-weeks of anti-government protests were hitting businesses like a "tsunami".

On Thursday, financial chief Paul Chan predicted the city's economy would grow by a miserly zero to one percent this year, the worst rate since 2009 after the global crash hit. But as he announced a raft of sweeteners in a surprise "mini-budget", he denied the move was linked to the roiling unrest.

"The measures that we have just announced... trying to tackle the current economic difficulties and the coming economic headwinds, is not related to the political difficulties that we are facing," Chan told reporters. Instead, he said, the primary headwinds remained ongoing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing -- two major markets for Hong Kong -- and the possible impact of Brexit.

"Based on the latest developments and assessments on the outlook, the Hong Kong economy will continue to face an austere environment for the rest of the year," he said. Nonetheless, the sweeteners seemed to be aimed at winning over support from moderate Hong Kongers as the city reels from the protests.

The measures included financial breaks for small businesses, more generous student subsidies and goodies for low-income households. Ten weeks of unprecedented rallies, demonstrations and occupations in Hong Kong have seen millions of people take to the streets in the biggest challenge to China's rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain.

The social and political unrest was triggered by a controversial bill which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but has evolved into a call for wider democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms. The retail and tourism sectors have been especially hit by the drop in arriving visitors to the city, but the property market remains strong.

At a "citizens press conference" on Thursday, one protest group blamed the city's economic woes on the local leaders who they accused of undermining the city's business appeal by kowtowing to Beijing. (AFP) RS RS


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian markets, risk assets ride up on vaccine hopes

Asian shares jumped on Wednesday as optimism about a coronavirus vaccine bolstered risk appetite while the euro rose to a four-month top on the prospect of stimulus ahead of a crucial EU summit.MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ou...

NY Times to relocate part of Hong Kong office to Seoul

The New York Times will shift part of its Hong Kong office to Seoul, in an ominous move as worries grow that the new national security law China imposed on the financial hub two weeks ago would curb media and other freedoms in the city. The...

Mumbai: Fire breaks out at Churchgate's Maker Bhavan

A fire broke out in Maker Bhavan in Mumbais Churchgate area on Wednesday.Five fire tenders rushed to the spot after the incident was reported. No injuries have been reported so far.More details are awaited. ANI...

Mexico records near-record daily deaths, coronavirus cases

Mexico recorded 836 more confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and 7,051 more coronavirus cases on Tuesday, both among the highest figures the country has registered as continued high infection rates stymie reopening efforts. Mexico now has an acc...

Give Feedback