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HONG KONG - The government of China"s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is expected to have a surplus of HK$58.7 billion ($7.48 billion) for the fiscal year of 2018-2019, its financial chief said Wednesday.
Hong Kong"s fiscal reserves are expected to reach HK$1,161.6 billion ($147.99 billion) by March 31, 2019, the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the HKSAR government"s Financial Secretary Paul Chan said when delivering the annual budget.
Looking ahead for 2019, Chan said the uncertain global economic outlook this year will restrain Hong Kong"s economic performance.
"Having regard to the latest internal and external developments, I will make optimal use of the fiscal surplus for 2018-2019 to introduce one-off measures to support enterprises and relieve people"s burden," he said.
Together with the stimulus effect of other measures in the budget, Chan said he forecasts economic growth of 2 percent to 3 percent in real terms for Hong Kong in 2019.
On inflation, taking various factors into account, he forecast that the headline inflation rate and the underlying inflation rate for 2019 would both be 2.5 percent.
While forecasting the medium-term average growth rate slightly higher than the trend growth of 2.8 percent over the past decade and the inflation rate remaining 2.5 percent, Chan warned that Hong Kong has to stay vigilant against the mounting external pressures.
"I prepared this year"s budget along the direction of "supporting enterprises, safeguarding jobs, stabilising the economy, strengthening livelihoods"," he said, adding that he would provide new resources ready for use of about HK$150 billion in the new budget. (1 US dollar equals 7.85 Hong Kong dollars)