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Published: 22:57, February 06, 2023 | Updated: 22:58, February 06, 2023
Chan: HK's economic outlook more positive after reopening
By Zhang Tianyuan
Published:22:57, February 06, 2023 Updated:22:58, February 06, 2023 By Zhang Tianyuan

Paul Chan Mo-po, financial secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, delivers a speech during the Asian Logistics, Maritime, Aviation Conference 2022 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Nov 22, 2022. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

The full resumption of quarantine-free cross-border travel between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chinese mainland will bring a more positive and optimistic sentiment to Hong Kong’s economy, but the city still needs to be cautious given its recent economic data, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his official blog on Sunday.

All border checkpoints between the financial hub and the mainland fully reopen on Monday for the first time in the three years since the start of the pandemic, with the removal of daily quotas and COVID-19 testing requirements. A ban on unvaccinated inbound arrivals from anywhere of the world has also been lifted.

Looking forward to 2023, Hong Kong’s economy will definitely be better than last year. However, the external environment is still full of challenges and uncertainties. 

Paul Chan Mo-po, HKSAR financial secretary

Chan expected a post-pandemic recovery in various official activities, tourism and other business operations, as well as a steady increase in the cross-border flow of visitors and cargo traffic. 

These factors “will drive the city’s exports, logistics, tourism, retail and catering sectors”, he said, adding that “It brings a more positive and optimistic outlook to the overall economy of Hong Kong.”

ALSO READ: Chan: HK economy moves forward despite inflation

However, Chan warned that the city should stay vigilant based on the recent economic figures. 

December saw a 28.9 percent plunge year-on-year in Hong Kong exports, representing the biggest monthly drop in 68 years. “The figure also marks the eighth consecutive month of decline,” he noted. 

For the whole year of 2022, exports fell by 8.6 percent over the previous year. Chan said, “It is worth noting that despite the overall figure not being ideal, online retail sales for all of last year increased by about 21 percent when compared to 2021, reaching HK$34.6 billion.”

He said the city can expect to find new opportunities in the pivot. 

“Looking forward to 2023, Hong Kong’s economy will definitely be better than last year,” the finance chief said. “However, the external environment is still full of challenges and uncertainties.”

READ MORE: Chan: HK's economy in best position to grow

He said economic recovery takes time. “Whether it is flight resumptions, passenger returns, or the investment increase, it may take some time to gather greater momentum.”

“We must work hard to consolidate the economic revival momentum while keeping cautious against potential risks,” Chan said. “Only by creating a stable and favorable economic environment and stimulus policies to facilitate businesses can Hong Kong's economy rebound in the largest degree possible.”


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