Hong Kong unveils $2.4 billion economic support package as protests weigh

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Demonstrators during a protest at Hong Kong International Airport, Aug. 13. Kyle Lam-Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s government on Thursday announced an economic support package worth 2.44 billion dollars (HK$19.1 billion) as escalating political protests and the prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war weigh heavily on the Asian financial centre.

Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, unveiled the plan at a news conference, after saying the government is expecting to lower its 2019 GDP growth forecast to 0-1 per cent, from the original 2-3 per cent.

Chan said the measures include subsidies for the underprivileged and business enterprises.

Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, last week warned the next downturn will hit the city’s economy like a “tsunami”, and said her administration will be “more daring” in supporting growth.

Hong Kong will release second-quarter data and its latest economic forecasts on Aug. 16.

The economy expanded 0.6 per cent in April-June from a year earlier, preliminary data showed, in line with the first quarter’s pace but much less than economists expected.

It contracted on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

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(TodayNg)