HONG KONG - Hong Kong's high degree of freedom is intact and will not be overwhelmed by any adversity, the government said as the Asian financial hub lost its title as the world’s freest economy to Singapore for the first time since 1995 in a global survey.
Hong Kong’s overall economic freedom score fell primarily due to a decline in its marks for investment freedom, according to the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation. Singapore, its long-time regional rival, came in first as its score held steady compared to last year.
I can confidently say that the conditions that have long made Hong Kong a place with a high level of economic freedom won’t change because of what we experienced in the past
Edward Yau Tang-wah, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development
Edward Yau Tang-wah, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, told reporters Tuesday he expects to see a rebound in the rankings. “I can confidently say that the conditions that have long made Hong Kong a place with a high level of economic freedom won’t change because of what we experienced in the past.”
“Hong Kong’s economy was rated the freest in the world from 1995 through 2019. The ongoing political and social turmoil has begun to erode its reputation as one of the best locations from which to do business, dampening investment inflows,” the report from the conservative Washington think tank reads.
While large-scale anti-government demonstrations that began last year have died down amid the coronavirus pandemic, HK's economy has taken a battering.
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The city’s economy is forecast to contract for a second year after it fell into its first annual recession in a decade in 2019, facing fallout from the protests and the virus.
“Intensifying uncertainties related to security issues have undermined an otherwise favorable investment climate,” the think tank's report reads. “The territory remains a dynamic global financial center with a high degree of competitiveness and openness, but the sense of risk is also heightened.”
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