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Financial Secretary

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A snapshot of our economic situation (22.5.2022)

As the COVID-19 epidemic eased, the Government further relaxed the social distancing measures as planned last week, including extending the dinnertime service hours in catering premises; relaxing the limit on the maximum number of persons in a banquet; and reopening bars, karaoke, party rooms, etc.. You may also feel that general sentiment has turned vibrant, with the flow of people in restaurants and shopping malls increasing further while business is also gradually improving. Many restaurant employees also said that business was much better when I dined out. As some restaurants and shops lost staff during the epidemic, it is now more urgent for them to replenish manpower in order to cope with the rebound of business and people flow.

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Revised GDP growth forecast for 2022 (15.5.2022)

The fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic has brought severe impact on the economic performance in the first few months of this year. The three driving forces supporting the economy, namely exports, private consumption and fixed investment, all performed unfavourably, leading the economy to contract by 4% year-on-year in Q1, and that ended the improving trend from the previous four quarters. Economic data for April are expected to remain relatively weak due to the epidemic. After our latest regular review, we have decided to revise down Hong Kong’s real GDP growth forecast for 2022 to 1-2% from 2-3.5%. This means that the momentum of Hong Kong’s economic recovery will be weaker than expected after 6.3% real GDP growth in 2021. In addition to the impact of the epidemic, continued tensions in China-US relations, the intensifying international geopolitical situation, mounting external inflation pressure and the trend of interest rate hikes all weigh on global and Hong Kong’s economic outlook.

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Walking together (8.5.2022)

Today is Mother’s Day, a day to express gratitude to our mothers for taking care of the family. Many of us might have arranged different celebration activities with family and friends on this special occasion. On the road of fighting the epidemic in the past two years or so, we have learned to treasure the time we share with family and friends. And I trust many of us have their cooking skills improved too.

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