Hong Kong unveils budget, promising ‘abundant opportunities’ as city recovers
Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan struck a positive tone during his budget speech on Wednesday as he revealed measures to boost economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as incentives to help businesses and residents.
Chan said the city is at the early stages of recovery since the lifting of most of its stringent Covid measures late last year.
“I believe that Hong Kong’s economy will visibly recover this year, and I remain positive,” Chan said during his budget speech. “However, the economic recovery is still in its initial stage, and there is a need for our people and businesses to regain vigor.”
Hong Kong’s economy is expected to see a rebound of 3.5% to 5.5% in 2023, after shrinking 3.5% in 2022, Chan said.
In January, the global financial hub reopened its borders with mainland China, for the first time in three years.
Hong Kong closely followed China’s strict zero-Covid policy until the middle of 2022 when the city began to ease some of the restrictions. In December, the Asian financial center dropped nearly all of its Covid requirements.
“Domestically, the outbreak of the fifth wave of the epidemic early last year and tightened financial conditions weighed heavily on domestic demand,” said Chan on Wednesday.
“Nevertheless, with the local epidemic situation stabilizing, and the government’s counter-cyclical measures and disbursement of consumption vouchers making key impacts, employment conditions improved continuously.”
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