July 9, 2020

Hong Kong government expects first budget deficit in 15 years

Hong Kong Finance Secretary Paul Chan said Monday that the financial city could register a budget deficit during this fiscal year, the first in 15 years, picks up the local press.

"The deficit for fiscal year 2019-2020 will occur due to an adverse economic environment, the decrease in tax revenues and income from the sale of land, as well as the relief measures announced during the year," Chan told the Parliamentarians in the Legislative Council this Monday.

He also said that the economy is expected to contract 1.3% in 2019 compared to the previous year.

As he predicted, although in the middle of the year the Government applied some "corrective measures", at the end of the fiscal year the Hong Kong economy will be in red numbers, the first time this has happened since 2004.

In spite of everything, Chan said that the economic position of the Asian financial power remains strong: "We have accumulated a surplus over the years. Hong Kong is still in a healthy financial position," he said.

The Secretary referred directly to the more than six months of protests, stating that they have dealt a "heavy blow" to the economy, and that people are expected to "help" to end the violence.

"To restore the economy, different sectors must unite to stop the violence, so that the social order can be restored, citizens can return to normal life, companies can resume normal operations and a space can be created for rational dialogue, "he said.

The executive's statements come a day after tens of thousands of Hong Kong people returned to the streets again, and a week after the overwhelming electoral victory of the pro-democracy camp.

In one of the marches on Sunday, protesters thanked the United States for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Law and participated in about a thousand people, an image that contrasts with the mass demonstrations of the past.

In the early hours of Sunday to Monday, one of the marches experienced episodes of violence as they passed through the Kownloon district, when some protesters destroyed shops and restaurants and clashed with the police.

The protests in Hong Kong began in June following a controversial extradition bill, already withdrawn by the Government, but they have mutated into a movement that seeks an improvement in Hong Kong's democratic mechanisms and an opposition to each increasing interference from Beijing.

However, some protesters have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful protest and violent clashes with the police are common.

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