Hong Kong announces $15 billion relief package to help save its slumping economy

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The Hong Kong government has announced a dramatic economic relief package worth 120 billion Hong Kong dollars ($15.4 billion).

Financial secretary Paul Chan said in a budget speech Wednesday that all permanent residents in the city will receive 10,000 Hong Kong dollars ($1,280) to boost local consumption and counter the fallout from the slumping economy.

Handout plan: “The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has dealt a severe blow to economic activities and sentiment in Hong Kong,” Chan told the city’s legislature. “I have decided to implement counter-cyclical measures of a massive scale involving above HK$120 billion so as to meet the public’s expectations as far as possible.”

The handouts will cost about 71 billion Hong Kong dollars ($9.1 billion) in total, and are expected to benefit around 7 million people. The government said it would announce details of the scheme soon after obtaining funding approval from local lawmakers.

A hard year for Hong Kong: Chan said that the economic environment was “austere” in 2019, due to a series of factors including the US-China trade conflict and the slowing global economy.

“To sum up, Hong Kong’s economy is facing enormous challenges this year. The outlook is far from promising in the near term,” he said.

The financial secretary warned that a record high deficit will be recorded next year, but also noted that he believes Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remained solid in the long term.

“Although the impact of the epidemic on our economy in the near term could possibly be greater than that of the SARS outbreak in 2003, and the labor market is also subject to significant pressure, Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remain solid and therefore our core competitiveness will not be shaken. The economy of Hong Kong should be able to recover once the epidemic is over.”

Source : CNN.NEWS

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