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Hong Kong Unveils HK$19.1 Bln Stimulus Package

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Hong Kong's government unveiled a stimulus package worth HK$19.1 billion as deepening political unrest and escalation of China-US trade tension are likely to weigh on economic activity.

The government downgraded its growth outlook for this year to 0-1 percent from 2-3 percent, citing both domestic and international uncertainties.

The economy had contracted 0.3 percent sequentially in the second quarter. Another quarter of decline would take the economy into a technical recession.

In order to counter the challenging environment, Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced a package of measures to support enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises or SMEs, to safeguard jobs and relieve people's financial burden.

"Together with one-off relief measures announced in the 2019-20 Budget, which cost $42.9 billion, they will provide impetus for our economy and help cushion the enterprises and people of Hong Kong against challenges arising from economic uncertainties," Chan said.

For enterprises, he waived 27 groups of government fees and charges, reduced the rentals for most short term tenancies of government land and a new loan guarantee product.

With an intention to ease the financial burden of people, Chan proposed an extra allowance to social security recipients, subsidy to kindergarten, primary and secondary day-school students, and to pay one month's rent for lower income tenants living in the public rental units

Also, the government plans to provide a one-off electricity charge subsidy of HK$2,000 to each residential electricity account.

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