Thursday, March 17, 2005

Economy_Hong Kong budget_four quarter GDP worse

The speed of Hong Kong's economic growth slowed slightly in the fourth quarter last year, while the year number reached 8.1 per cent, the highest one in four years.

Dow Jones Newswire is one of the few medias to report the slowth, while most media highlighted the fast economic growth in last year reported by the territory's Financial Minister Henry Tang Ying-yen.

Hong Kong's gross domestic product expanded 0.6 per cent on the quarter in the three months ending Dec.31, the government said, down from growth of 1.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

The results were below expectations. A Dow Jones Newswires poll of seven economists forecast growth for the quarter to come in at 1.0 per cent. The median of six economists' forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey is 1.1 per cent.

Part of reason is China's economic control on industrial expansion. Bloomberg reported that import growth in China is slowing after the government last year clamped down on industrial expansion to help damp inflation and ease power shortages. China's imports fell in February for the first time in three years.

Tang also said that the economic growth this year would be 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent, with inflation at 1.5 per cent.

It is still too early to say if it is only China's controlling policy hurts Hong Kong's fourth quarter economy. I will continue watching.

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