Published: 15:58, March 3, 2024 | Updated: 11:09, March 4, 2024
Chan: Budget to bolster confidence, long-term growth
By Zhang Tianyuan in Hong Kong

Paul Chan Mo-po, financial secretary of HKSAR, speaks to members of the media about the 2024-2025 Budget at Central Government Office on Feb 28, 2024. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po says the focus of the 2024-25 Budget is on bolstering short-term confidence, strategic long-term economic growth, and fiscal sustainability.

Writing in his Sunday blog, he said the proposals outlined in the new financial year’s budget centered on three major topics -- how to stabilize confidence in the short term and enhance guidance on market expectations; boost strategies for sustained long-term economic growth; and secure the resilience and sustainability of public finances.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s economy is expected to grow by 2.5-3.5 percent this year, following a 3.2-percent expansion in 2023, amid high interest rates and geopolitical tensions that have weighed on the capital market, as well as shifts in spending habits challenging the retail and catering sectors, Chan said. 

With regard to a series of financial initiatives, such as improving the stock market listing system, a treasury share buy-back regime, and allowing stock trading during severe weather, Chan said these are aimed at boosting market efficiency, liquidity and competitiveness

In line with market expectations of relief measures for the sluggish property market, he said the Buyer’s Stamp Duty targeting nonpermanent residents, the New Residential Stamp Duty for second-time home buyers, and the Special Stamp Duty will be repealed with immediate effect.

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“The decision to scrap the property curbs follows careful consideration of current market conditions and predictions of sufficient supply of residential housing,” he wrote. 

With regard to a series of financial initiatives, such as improving the stock market listing system, a treasury share buy-back regime, and allowing stock trading during severe weather, Chan said these are aimed at boosting market efficiency, liquidity and competitiveness.

The Budget also proposes that fireworks and drone shows will be held over Victoria Harbour monthly in response to the shifts in consumption habits among residents and tourists. “We hope to create unique tourism attractions, not only to facilitate better travel planning for visitors and locals but also to enrich their travel experience.”

“In the past few days, several associations have shown interest in sponsoring drone or fireworks displays as part of their promotional campaigns. Meanwhile, restaurant operators and retailers are planning new marketing activities to capitalize on these events to boost promotion,” Chan said.

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A variety of international events can generate additional business opportunities and boost the tourism sector in the short term, he noted.

Last week, the Hong Kong Green Week, featuring a series of forums and activities addressing green technology and green finance, drew more than 5,000 participants from all over the world. The green tech forum attracted many green tech companies, covering areas like renewable energy, hydrogen transportation, carbon capture, and green agriculture. 

The SAR government has allocated about HK$1.1 billion ($140.51 million) for the Tourism Commission and the Tourism Board to organize mega events and activities as part of the city’s economic growth strategy.

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The international trade hub will also host the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Art Basel, Hong Kong Sevens, the Hong Kong Pop Culture Festival, the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit and other financial forums this year.


tianyuanzhang@chinadailyhk.com