Despite the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic, Hong Kong’s economic contraction slowed in the fourth quarter driven by the improvement in domestic and external demand, the Census and Statistics Department said Friday.
Gross domestic product fell 3 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, but slower than the 3.6 percent decline in the third quarter.
On a quarterly basis, GDP grew 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, after rebounding 2.7 percent in the third quarter.
For 2020 as a whole, GDP decreased 6.1 percent in real terms from 2019.
The Hong Kong economy is expected to see positive growth for 2021 as a whole, but the economic situation in the first half of the year will remain challenging and the degree and speed of recovery is subject to a host of uncertainties, especially those about the pandemic situation, a government spokesman said.
On the expenditure-side, private consumption expenditure was down 7.6 percent, smaller than the 8.2 percent decline in the third quarter. Government consumption expenditure climbed 5.6 percent versus an increase of 7.1 percent a quarter ago.
Gross domestic fixed capital formation advanced 2.6 percent, in contrast to the decrease of 10.9 percent in the third quarter.
Exports of goods rose 5.6 percent, while shipments of services fell 29.6 percent. At the same time, imports of goods rose 6.9 percent, while that of services slid 35.9 percent.
Hong Kong’s economy was treading water at the end of 2020 as the re-imposition of containment measures weighed on consumption, Julian Evans-Pritchard, and Sheana Yue, economists at Capital Economics, said.
Unless authorities bring the ongoing outbreak under control soon, the recovery is at risk of going into reverse this quarter, the economists added.
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