Financial chief predicts hundred billion deficit this year, considering economic support measure

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said Hong Kong showed worse economic performance than expected for the third quarter of this year and the fiscal year could run an over HK$100 billion deficit, but confirmed the government would endeavour to manage risks.

"Hong Kong's GDP contracted by 4.5 percent year-on-year in the third quarter," Chan said in a radio programme on Sunday morning, "which is mainly due to the drop in exports."

"Hong Kong is an open economy with a relatively small scale which has led to it being easily affected by the external financial environment," he added.

The economic expectation is not optimistic as the external economic circumstances are seeing a poor performance this year, with factors such as interest rate hikes and the cross-boundary land transport not fully recovered, Chan explained.

However, he emphasised the government will take counter-cyclical measures to boost the economy, considering the actual financial performance, when responding to whether a new round of consumption vouchers would be issued.

He also mentioned Hong Kong has fiscal reserves of about HK$800 billion currently.

"The government will soon launch a public consultation to review the new 2023 Budget," he added.

Paul Chan will depart for Bali, Indonesia on Sunday to attend the Group of Twenty (G20) Leader's Summit, as a member of the delegation of China, and return to Hong Kong in the morning on November 17.

He expected to introduce Hong Kong's advantages for the summit to attract more opportunities.