Warning of looming ‘economic typhoon’


  • Economy
  • Monday, 19 Aug 2019

The warning from the city’s top budget official came after Hong Kong last week slashed its 2019 growth forecast to as little as zero, down from a previous range of 2% to 3%.(File pic Paul Chan)

HONG KONG: Protest-battered Hong Kong should also brace itself for an “economic typhoon” caused by the US-China trade war and recent political unrest in the city, financial secretary Paul Chan wrote in a blog post.

The warning from the city’s top budget official came after Hong Kong last week slashed its 2019 growth forecast to as little as zero, down from a previous range of 2% to 3%.

The government also adopted a US$2.4bil spending package to try to buoy the economy – a move likened to the food stockpiles that households gather to gird themselves against a typhoon. Two months of protests that have shut the airport, blocked streets and sent stocks sliding have hit the local economy at a time when the US-China trade war was already chipping away at exports, Chan wrote.Chan called the economic storm a level-three danger, invoking the terminology that the Hong Kong observatory uses to issue storm warnings. A level-eight basically shuts the city down.

Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, donated HK$500 million (US$64mil) to a leading university for a research facility and expressed his faith in the youth, before appealing for an end to the social unrest gripping the city.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation, a charity foundation founded by the tycoon, made a donation to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for a building dedicated to synthetic bio-technologies last Thursday, it said in a statement.

Last Friday, Li called for calm in the city, after weeks of anti-China protests, with advertisements in major local newspapers.

When Li, 91, finally weighed in last week, he threaded the needle – decrying violence but not, as Beijing has sought, clearly siding with Hong Kong’s administration in its standoff with the demonstrators, Bloomberg Opinion Nisha Gopolan wrote.

The city’s richest man appealed to love in advertisements placed in English and Chinese-language newspapers and signed the note as “a Hong Kong citizen.’’ — Bloomberg


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