Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that economic growth for 2017 as a whole would exceed 3.7 per cent.
Last month, the government said that Hong Kong’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 3.9 per cent year-on-year in real terms during the first three quarters of 2017, after growing by 2 per cent in 2016. The yearly average over the past decade was 2.8 per cent.
Lam was attending the Hong Kong Economic Summit 2018 on Friday and said the rate of 3.9 per cent was “particularly meaningful” to her.
“When I ran for chief executive, I had said that Hong Kong had many opportunities with the backing of the country – I was not satisfied that Hong Kong only managed to have average economic growth between 2 and 2.5 per cent like that in mature Western economies,” she said.
“Therefore, regardless of whether it will be 3.7 or 3.9 percent, it tells us that our dissatisfaction is reasonable – Hong Kong can achieve new heights with the economy,” she added.
Lam said Hong Kong’s economy was strong this year with moderate inflation and exports driven by demand in Europe and Asia.
She said Hong Kong enjoyed the benefits of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and the city should improve its role as a “connector.” She said the city had been a testing ground for China’s initiatives. She added that she will defend Hong Kong’s traditional advantages, strengthen foreign links, develop new industries, and improve the business environment, among others.
In November, Hong Kong’s poverty rate stood at 19.9 per cent in 2016 — a record high since 2009. The latest Hong Kong Poverty Situation report showed that there were over 1.35 million residents living below the poverty line last year – a rise of 0.2 per cent from the previous year.
The actual GDP figure will be announced in the annual budget to be published in February next year.