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Country Forecast Hong Kong June 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Hong Kong June 2018 Updater

  • June 2018
  • ID: 265309
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • Carrie Lam will serve as the territory's chief executive until at least 2022. Her administration will focus on improving the quality of public education and healthcare provision. The Economist Intelligence Unit believes that in the forecast period she will successfully resist pressure from the central Chinese government to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law (the territory's mini-constitution) by introducing anti-subversion legislation.
  • Ms Lam's government will promote increased construction of residential housing in order to improve property affordability. Within public housing, it will put more emphasis on increasing the supply of rental units rather than units for sale. We expect housing prices to remain a source of public discontent.
  • A failure to meet public expectations or present a convincing vision for Hong Kong's future role will sap support for Ms Lam's government and feed anti-China sentiment. This will boost the so-called localists in the opposition camp, who seek more self-determination for the territory. The localists' rise-and government efforts to curb their political influence-will put even more strain on relations between Hong Kong and the mainland-Chinese authorities.
  • The peg between the Hong Kong dollar and the US dollar will be maintained in 2018-22, at a rate of around HK$7.8:US$1. However, by 2030 we expect the local currency to be pegged instead to the Chinese renminbi, reflecting deepening financial and political links with the mainland.
  • The budget surplus will fall in fiscal years 2018/19-2019/20 (April-March) as a decline in property prices drives down the value of land sales, reducing govern-ment revenue. Faster economic growth will support a gradual increase in the size of the fiscal surplus in 2020/21-2022/23.
  • We forecast that the pace of economic expansion will slow to 2.8% in 2019, partly owing to the negative impact of a downturn in the local property market. A downturn in the US in 2020 will subdue growth in Hong Kong's exports in that year. Nonetheless, annual economic growth will average a robust 3.1% in 2018-22.
  • The trade deficit will widen steadily in 2018-22, with growth in imports being lifted by higher global oil prices and steady growth in domestic demand. However, wide services and primary income surpluses will ensure that the overall current-account surplus remains large.

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