Hong Kong, 5 May (ZXS) -- The Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Paul Chan, said in a blog post on 7 May that since Hong Kong fully resumed convenient travel with the mainland and the world, the number of visitors to Hong Kong has increased significantly, and the local economic and social atmosphere has continued to improve, but Hong Kong's economic recovery is still in the initial stage, and the recovery needs to be strengthened.

He said that the "Happy Hong Kong" series of activities has created a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere for the community, and the issuance of consumption vouchers in the middle of last month has also added impetus to the retail and catering markets. The cheerful and optimistic atmosphere coupled with the return of visitors to Hong Kong is conducive to consumer shopping.

Chan pointed out that total restaurant revenue in the first quarter of this year surged by 82% year-on-year, the highest level in more than three years in terms of value; During the same period, the sales value of retail trade exceeded the monthly level of HK$300 billion for four consecutive months; Private consumption expenditure grew by 12.5% year-on-year in real terms. Benefiting from the recovery of tourism in Hong Kong, service exports increased by 16.9%. Fixed investment also reversed its decline amid a positive economic outlook. However, overall exports of goods fell by 18.7% on the back of a weak external environment and more uncertainties. As a result, despite ending a four-quarter losing streak, Hong Kong's economy grew modestly by only 2.7% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year.

In his view, these figures reflect that Hong Kong's economic recovery is still in its infancy and needs to be strengthened. Especially for the Fed's recent interest rate hike, although the market expects that the interest rate hike cycle may end, the interest rate will remain high for a period of time, coupled with a succession of US banks in financial difficulties, which has increased market unease and made the peripheral economy face more uncertainty.

Chan said that in summary, it is necessary to strengthen the local recovery momentum. If the external market conditions do not deteriorate sharply, Hong Kong's economy is expected to further improve this year with a series of measures to support domestic demand and the continuous improvement in the import and export of goods from the mainland.

Chan said that in the new era and new stage, all-out economic struggle requires a stable political and social environment, so that Hong Kong can focus on high-quality development, improve the quality of life of citizens, and move forward steadily in the critical period of governance and prosperity. (End)