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Country Report Hong Kong September 2017

Country Report Hong Kong September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557350
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • Carrie Lam, the former chief secretary for administration, was sworn in as chief executive on July 1st. She will serve a five-year term ending in 2022.
  • Pro-government parties will dominate the Legislative Council (Legco, parliament) until the next election in 2020. Government moves to bar radical opposition members from Legco risk undermining the body's legitimacy.
  • Ms Lam has indicated an intention to focus on education policy during her term. She is also likely to advance a watered-down version of the "patriotic education" curriculum pushed by the central Chinese government.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the budget balance to tip into deficit in fiscal year 2018/19 (April-March) as falling property prices curb income from land sales. However, the budget will return to surplus in 2019/20.
  • The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (which performs many of the functions of a central bank) is expected to raise its base rate once more in 2017 and three times next year, prompting local property prices to fall significantly in 2018.
  • The local currency will remain pegged to the US dollar in 2017-21. However, growing financial links with mainland China suggest that a switch to a peg against the renminbi is inevitable in the longer term.


  • On August 17th the Court of Appeal handed down prison sentences of between six and eight months apiece in the case of three leaders of pro-democracy protests in 2014. The government had appealed seeking tougher punishments after they had earlier been given community-service sentences.
  • Earlier in the same month another 13 pro-democracy campaigners who broke the law by storming Legco in 2014 were similarly jailed on appeal.
  • The Census and Statistics Department (CSD) released data on August 11th showing that the economy expanded by 3.8% year on year in real terms in the second quarter of 2017, after posting 4.3% growth in the first quarter.
  • On August 2nd the Land Registry published property transactions figures, which showed that there were 3,515 sales of residential property in July, representing a 17.2% fall on a year-on-year basis. The total value of these transactions was HK$33.2bn (US$4.3bn), up by 11.7%.
  • On August 7th the Hong Kong dollar depreciated past the landmark exchange rate of HK$7.82:US$1. The currency has weakened within its narrow trading band against the US dollar amid a widening differential between US and local interest rates.
  • Data from the CSD showed that goods exports were up by 11.1% year on year in June, to HK$329.4bn. Imports rose by 10.4% to HK$377.7bn.

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