Hong Kong’s finance chief warned Monday, December 2nd that the city is to record its first budget deficit in 15 years as the world’s business hub totters due to the twin shocks of the pro-democracy protests and the America-China trade war.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan, in the latest grim assessment for the city, told lawmakers that the economy has contracted 1.3% in 2019, hitting the city's usually bulging coffers, AFP has reported.
Chan blamed the 2019-2020 deficit on a slowdown in land sales, decreased tax revenues, and recent economic sweeteners the government unveiled to win over the public during a riotous year of unrest, according to straitstimes.com.
"At the end of the financial year, the SAR government will be in the red," Chan said, using an abbreviation for the Hong Kong government.
He called for political violence to cease as "Hong Kong's economy is now in extremely difficult times".
The city has been shaken by nearly six months of protests triggered by rising public anger over China's rule and crowds are still pushing for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability. But the city's pro-Beijing leadership has refused any major political concessions.