MAY 3 - 9, 2022
John Lee elected as next Chief Executive
The sixth-term Chief Executive (CE) Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) completed smoothly on May 8, with candidate John Lee winning the election with 1,416 votes. Meeting the media after the election, Mr Lee said that, with loyalty and perseverance, he will shoulder the responsibility to unite and lead the 7.4 million people in Hong Kong to start a new chapter together. Extending her congratulations to Mr Lee’s election as the next Hong Kong leader, CE Carrie Lam said Monday (May 9) that this term of government will render all necessary assistance and support to ensure that the CE-elect will have every success in forming his governing team and will lead Hong Kong to a greater height in the next five years.

US rate hike risks monitored
In tandem with the US rate hike by 0.5%, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority increased the base rate to 1.25% on May 5 with immediate effect. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the HKSAR Government will pay attention to relevant risks resulting from the latest US rate hike. He noted that under the Linked Exchange Rate System, the widening of interest rate gaps between the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) and the US dollar will attract more carry trade activities, eventually causing HKD interbank rates to rise with the USD interest rates. However, changes in the HKD effective exchange rate and the speed and magnitude of the rise in interest rates will still vary depending on local capital funds and the economic situation. The city’s foreign currency reserves dropped to US$465.7 billion in April from March’s US$481.6 billion. The reserve assets represent about six times the currency in circulation or 44% of Hong Kong dollar M3.

Economy shrinks 4% in Q1
Hong Kong’s economy contracted by 4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022. Separately, the value of total retail sales in March, provisionally estimated at US$3.05 billion, decreased 13.8% year-on-year. The decline of the GDP was attributable to a weak performance in both domestic and external demand. During the first quarter this year, the city faced immense pressure, with moderating global demand growth and COVID-19 epidemic-induced cross-boundary transportation disruptions causing substantial drags on exports. At the same time, local economic activities and economic sentiment were hard hit by the fifth wave of the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant anti-epidemic measures. Looking ahead, the global economy along with rampant inflation resulting in tighter monetary policy by major central bank would weigh on the economic outlook. The improving local epidemic situation and the various government support measures should help the revival of domestic demand in the remainder of 2022. 

Social distancing measures further relaxed

As the number of daily new cases has been on a continuous downward trend without any salient sign of rebound, coupled with the fact that the Vaccine Pass requirement for having received two doses of vaccine for entering specific premises has been put in place since Apr 30, the HKSAR Government considered that Hong Kong is ready to implement the second stage of relaxation in social distancing measures from May 19 as previously announced, and suitably advance the relaxation of certain measures for implementation from May 5. This includes increasing the maximum number of people per table in restaurants, and the reopening of swimming pools, beaches and water sports centers. The third stage of the Vaccine Pass, which requires residents to get the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before entering specified premises, will be implemented on May 31.

Business Seminar: Hong Kong Still Matters
With the global economic center of gravity shifting east, learn how you can take advantage of Hong Kong, one of the most vibrant international business centers, to grow your business in the business seminar “Hong Kong Still Matters” to be held this Friday (May 13) at 10:30 AM (EDT). This hybrid event – an in-person seminar to be held in Atlanta, GA and simultaneously streamed online – will feature an exciting lineup of Hong Kong experts and Asian old hands. They include: Amb Kurt Tong, former US Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau and Partner of The Asia Group; Stephen Phillips, Director-General of Investment Promotion of Invest Hong Kong; and Dr Yawei Liu, Director of China Program at The Carter Center. Moderated by Fred Teng, President of America China Public Affairs Institute, the event is organized by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, together with the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta and Metro Atlanta Chamber. Just a few more days to go. Register now.

A Closer Look at Global Inflation: Logistics & Supply Chain Disruption
In conjunction with World Trade Week NYC, the Hong Kong Association of New York (HKANY) is hosting a webinar “A Closer Look at Global Inflation: Logistics & Supply Chain Disruption” this Wednesday (May 11) at 8 PM (EDT). During this public online event, the panelists will cover issues and topics relating to the impact of global inflation, how logistics and supply chain disruptions affect the business world, and the opportunities in the new era. Register now and get fresh insights on this topical issue. 
Summer Kaleidoscope
According to the 24 solar terms, May 5 marked the start of summer this year, signaling a marked rise in temperature, the onset of the rainy and stormy season, and the beginning of nature's vibrant growth. Ushering in the new season, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra performs “Summer Kaleidoscope,” which expresses the diversity and change of the season through variations in tempos and in the textural-tonal contrasts of different musical instruments. Another characteristic of the composition is the adaptation of well-known phrases from the traditional music of southern China and its ancient origins. Enjoy this lively performance!

Challenges, Overcoming & Virtuosity
What do sports and music have in common? Athletic and musical performances both require tough mental training to help the talented explore, expand their potential, and go beyond their limits. Join Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s concertmaster Jing Wang, principal viola Andrew Ling, along with table tennis trainers Thomas and Jody, as they share the similarities between playing in a table tennis doubles match and performing a violin-viola duet. They will also share their insights into overcoming challenges through the spirit of resilience and togetherness. Enjoy!

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: Is Chinese the only official language allowed under the Basic Law?
A: No, in addition to Chinese, English is also an official language used by the executive authorities, the legislature and the judiciary of the HKSAR. (BL Article 9)

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