Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan is set to deliver the city’s annual budget speech amid political turmoil, the enduring
Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan is set to deliver the city’s annual budget speech amid political turmoil, the enduring Sino-US trade war, and the explosive coronavirus epidemic. Hong Kong’s ongoing economic recession has contributed to the first deficit for the South Asian city in 15 years.
Among the details of the annual budget is a $3.8B stimulus package to revive struggling industries across the city. With 67 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far, Hong Kong aims to inject a further $1.4B into its hospital networks to combat the outbreak. With business closures and layoffs rampant, many are calling for additional cash handouts to affected workers. Pro-worker politicians argue that stimulating consumer activity is the most effective way to pull the economy out of a steeper downturn. However, with a budget deficit threatening to surpass 3% of GDP, Hong Kong must be cautious in increasing government spending to mend its volatile economy.
As Hong Kong’s budget is announced, expect divisions to be etched across the city. Critics will complain that the stimulus packages are only a band-aid fix to the larger problem of a declining global economy due to political circumstances beyond Hong Kongers’ control.
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