MAR 29 - APR 4, 2022
Chief Executive Election to be held on May 8
The Chief Executive Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will be held on May 8. Chief Executive Carrie Lam today (Apr 4) announced that she will not contest the election for the sixth-term Chief Executive. Announcing the decision at a press conference this morning, Mrs Lam said it is based on consideration for her family. She added that she had earlier indicated to the central government her wish not to run for office and they have expressed their understanding. 
Hong Kong firmly upholds judicial independence and rule of law
Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed (Mar 30) regret at the resignations of Lord Reed of Allermuir and Lord Hodge as Non-Permanent Judges of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government reiterates its firm commitment to upholding judicial independence in Hong Kong as it has done unwaveringly over the past 25 years. Chief Justice Andrew Cheung reiterates that all judges and judicial officers will continue to abide by the Judicial Oath and administer justice in full accordance with the law, without fear or favor, self-interest or deceit. This commitment is wholly unaffected by the departure of the two judges. Separately, the HKSAR Government refuted (Apr 1) the unfounded allegations in the UK’s Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong and the US Hong Kong Policy Act Report.
Monetary and financial stability report published
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority published (Mar 30) a Half-Yearly Monetary and Financial Stability Report, providing detailed analyses of the global and local economy, as well as the monetary and financial conditions in Hong Kong. The report said the global economic outlook is subject to significant uncertainty, including the risk of a major virus outbreak, the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine as well as stronger-than-expected monetary policy tightening if US inflation proves more persistent and broad-based than expected. The Hong Kong dollar exchange rate softened during the review period while continuing to trade in a smooth and orderly manner. There was no notable sign of outflows from the Hong Kong banking system.
SME Financing Guarantee Scheme enhancements takes effect
The enhancements to the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme takes effect on Apr 1, further alleviating the cash flow pressure of eligible small and medium-sized enterprises in the time of the pandemic. Under the program, the maximum loan amount per enterprise under the Special 100% Loan Guarantee will be raised from the total amount of employee wages and rents from 18 to 27 months, subject to a ceiling of US$1.15 million. The maximum repayment period will be extended from eight to 10 years. Eligible enterprises should have been operating for at least three months as at Mar 31, 2022, and have suffered at least a 30% decline in sales turnover in any month since Feb 2020 compared with the monthly average of any preceding quarter from Jan 2019 to Mar 2022. The application period has been extended to Jun 30, 2023.
Permanent residency policy clarified
The Immigration Department clarified (Mar 29) that there is no change in the rules on the loss of Hong Kong permanent resident status. The Immigration Ordinance stipulates that Hong Kong permanent residents of non-Chinese nationality will lose their permanent resident status if they have been absent from Hong Kong continuously for not less than 36 months since they ceased to have ordinarily resided in the city. As for the Hong Kong permanent residents of Chinese nationality, they will not lose their permanent resident status even if they have been absent from Hong Kong for long periods.
Application opens for technology internship program
Graduates who hold a bachelor's, master's or PhD degree in STEM, with no more than three years of full-time work experience, are invited to apply for the Technology Leaders of Tomorrow Programme 2022 organized by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP). Under the programme, the selected talents will start with a 6-week internship and 2-week project training at HKSTP and followed by a full-time research and development role for at least 24 months at one of HKSTP’s Partner Companies or at least 12 months at one of the non-HKSTP’s Partner Companies. Application period ends on Apr 24. More information on the program can be found here.
  • The value of total retail sales in February decreased 14.6% year-on-year to a provisionally estimated US$3.2 billion. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month fell 17.6% year-on-year.

  • The HKSAR Government recorded a US$9.2 billion surplus for the 11 months ending Feb 28. Expenditure for the period was US$79.3 billion and revenue was US$84.8 billion. Net proceeds of US$3.7 billion were also booked from the issuance of green bonds. Fiscal reserves stood at US$128.2 billion as at the end of February.

  • The total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$589.6 billion as at Feb 28. This is US$8.08 billion lower than that at end-Jan. Hong Kong dollar assets decreased by US$11.64 billion while foreign currency assets increased by US$3.55 billion. Backing assets fell by 0.4% to US$303.14 billion.
Hong Kong and its Basic Law
The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the HKSAR. Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems”.
Q: Have Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life been preserved?
A: The Basic Law provides that the capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged. Hong Kong maintains a free and open market economy with a free flow of capital, goods, intangible assets, and a freely convertible currency. People's lifestyle remains the same as before. (BL Articles 5; 112; 115)

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