ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

GDP growth grinds to a halt at 1.5% in Q4

It was significantly lower compared to the 3.7% increase in the first three quarters.

The Hong Kong economy expanded at a measly 1.5% in Q4, which is significantly lower than the 3.7% GDP growth recorded in the first three quarters, financial secretary Paul Chan revealed in a blog post.

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The ongoing trade conflict between China and US heavily impacted on Hong Kong's export performance in end 2018, with goods exports showing zero growth. This was a very drastic decrease compared with the 6% average increase in the first three quarters, Chan noted.

“At the same time, consumer sentiment has also been affected,” Chan added. “Retail sales volume in the fourth quarter only showed a slight increase of 2.1%YoY, which was far behind the 12% plus increase recorded in H1 2018.”

Also readTrade jitters and bearish equities weigh heavily on Hong Kong's 2019 GDP growth forecast

On the other hand, Chan noted that the government’s accumulative surplus amounted to $59b as at December 2018 amidst stamp duty collections, salaries and profits tax.

The overall economic growth in 2018 is estimated to be around 3% which is the lower limit of the range predicted in the last Budget. The number of large-scale enterprises expecting their business situation to be worse is 12% higher than that expecting it to be better, based on the report on Quarterly Business Tendency Survey issued by the Census and Statistics Department.

“The situation is not optimistic,” Chan highlighted. “The political and economic uncertainties and the pressure on the downfall of the global economy are acute.”

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