Written by: Zheng Cuibi
The last update date: 2021-05-08 11:41
The Census and Statistics Department recently announced that Hong Kong’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of this year will grow by 7.8% year-on-year in real terms, reversing the trend of economic contraction for six consecutive quarters.
However, Financial Secretary Chen Maobo said on a radio program today (8th) that the growth this time is uneven, and the catering and retail industries are still under pressure. Moreover, due to the low base in the same period last year, the GDP in the first quarter of this year is actually still not high. It should not be too optimistic to return to the level of 2019 and look forward to the future.
In addition, the "100% Guaranteed Personal Preferential Loan Program" has so far received 10,000 applications, and the main applicants are from the catering, retail, transportation, and tourism industries.
Chen Maobo (middle) attended the business program "Political and Economic Saturday".
(Provided by business station)
The "Budget" launched the "100% Guaranteed Personal Preferential Loan Program" for the unemployed to apply for loans. The program started accepting applications at the end of April. Chen Maobo said on the commercial program "Political and Economic Saturday" that he has received more than 10,000 cases so far. However, because many applicants did not submit all the information, including proof of their condition before becoming unemployed, the bank is still in the process of processing the supplementary information.
The applicants themselves are mostly from catering, retail, transportation, and tourism industries, which he believes are the most stressed industries recently.
Chen Maobo said that the GDP growth of 7.8% in the first quarter was benefited from exports and re-exports. The related trade increased significantly by more than 30%. Although the GDP growth seemed to be high, it was just because the base figure in the same period last year was low, and it was actually not heavy. Back to the level of 2019.
He also pointed out that the growth this time is uneven, the catering and retail industries are still under pressure, and the unemployment rate is high.
▼Starting from April 29, the social distancing measures will be relaxed with the vaccine bubble frame▼
Looking ahead to the economy, he believes that it is not appropriate to be too optimistic. The Budget estimates that this year's economic growth will be 3.5% to 5.5%. He believes that it will be closer to a high point in the end, but it is still not appropriate to adjust economic growth expectations. One or two more observations should be made. Months, depending on whether the epidemic is under control and whether it can clear customs with the mainland.
He also said that if the epidemic in Hong Kong is under control and the economies of the West and Asia are restored, it will guarantee the local economy. It is expected that by the end of next year, GDP growth can be restored to the level of 2019, or even higher.
Chen Maobo urged the public to get the new crown vaccine as soon as possible. He believes that if the vaccination rate is high, it will be more certain to return to the economy and the unemployment rate is expected to improve.
He hopes that after shortening the quarantine period for people who have completed the vaccination, business will be more comfortable.
When asked when he can clear customs with the Mainland, he said that local cases need to be cleared as much as possible, especially cases of unknown origin.
Chen Maobo pointed out that the "100% Guaranteed Personal Preferential Loan Program" has so far received 10,000 applications.
(Information picture/Photo by Liao Yanxiong)
He added that the inflation-linked bond iBond will be launched this month, and the interest rate will not be "different from the last time." He also described the two percent of the last time it was launched as "good attractive". This issuance hopes that more people will benefit. It is believed that there is little pressure to trigger inflation.
The cross-border financial link and bond link will also be launched soon.
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