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MAY 31 - JUNE 5, 2023

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Hong Kong’s financial hub status reaffirmed

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) report reaffirms (May 31) Hong Kong's status as a major international financial center with robust institutional frameworks, substantial capital and liquidity buffers, high-quality financial sector regulation, and a well-functioning Linked Exchange Rate System. It recognizes Hong Kong’s strongly recovering economy with post-COVID normalization of economic activities. It also points out that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is proactively solidifying Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center, and strengthening impetus for economic growth and competitiveness.

Government green bonds well received

Hong Kong successfully offered (Jun 1) close to US$6 billion worth of green bonds, denominated in US dollars, Euro and Renminbi, under the Government Green Bond Programme. The multi-currency offering continued to attract a wide spectrum of investors and was well received, with close to US$30 billion equivalent in orders. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said, “The enthusiasm for Hong Kong green bonds from global investors demonstrates their recognition of Hong Kong’s efforts in green and sustainable development.” Separately, Renminbi (RMB) sovereign bonds totaling RMB30 billion will be issued in four rounds in Hong Kong this year. The first round of sovereign bonds totaling RMB12 billion will be issued through tendering on Jun 14.


April retail sales up 15%

Hong Kong’s total retail sales in April rose by 15% year-on-year to a provisionally estimated US$4.44 billion, with online sales accounting for 6.4% of the total retail sales. The value of total retail sales rose alongside the continued improvement in consumption sentiment and visitor arrivals, which should continue to help the retail sector performance. The disbursement of consumption vouchers will provide further support.

Deficit recorded for April

Hong Kong’s expenditure for April amounted to US$8.92 billion and revenue US$4.46 billion, resulting in a deficit of US$4.46 billion. The fiscal reserves stood at US$102.6 billion as at Apr 30. The deficit was mainly due to some major types of revenue including salaries and profits taxes are mostly received towards the end of a financial year. Separately, total assets of the Hong Kong Exchange Fund amounted to US$517.04 billion as at Apr 30. This is US$5.67 billion lower than that at the end of March. Foreign currency assets fell by US$5.09 billion while Hong Kong dollar assets dropped by US$577 million.


Port statistics for 1Q2023

In the first quarter of 2023, Hong Kong’s total port cargo throughput fell 2.8% year-on-year to 41.2 million tonnes. During this period, the port handled 3.43 million TEUs of containers, representing a decrease of 7.4% year-on-year. The number of ocean vessel arrivals rose by 30.2% to 4,526, with the total capacity also increasing by 31.8% to 70.9 million net tons.


Rise in resources for women lauded

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has issued (May 31) its concluding observations on the fourth report on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), noting with appreciation the relevant legislative reform in Hong Kong and welcomed the increase of resources for the Women’s Commission. The HKSAR Government will continue to further promote the realization of women’s due status, rights and opportunities in all aspects of life, in a continuing process of faithfully implementing the convention.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It provides the guarantees to maintain our existing way of life, including socio-economic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas. The Basic Law was put into effect on July 1, 1997.


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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