Commerce secretary on commerce, restoration from Covid

Hong Kong’s financial system has rebounded sharply after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic — nevertheless it’s not out of the woods but and a few sectors are nonetheless reeling, stated the town’s high commerce official.

“The distribution of this rebound is quite uneven,” Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and financial growth, instructed CNBC’s “Squawk Field Asia” on Thursday.

Yau defined that imports and exports have been a “very robust catalyst” of progress in the previous couple of months, with general commerce hitting document ranges in some months. Nonetheless, retail gross sales are moderating and tourism remains to be struggling to get well, he stated.

Such uneven financial efficiency can be mirrored within the jobs market, and can probably stay in order Hong Kong faces the “twin battle” of containing the unfold of Covid and reviving the financial system, added Yau.

The Hong Kong financial system grew 7.9% within the first quarter of 2021 in comparison with a 12 months in the past. It was the town’s first financial enlargement after six consecutive quarters of year-on-year contraction.

A person sporting a protecting face masks stands on Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront that faces Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Photos

Earlier than the pandemic, Hong Kong — a Chinese language-ruled semi-autonomous area — was rocked by widespread pro-democracy protests that turned violent at instances. The unrest despatched the financial system right into a recession in 2019 for the primary time in a decade, pushed by a steep decline in retail gross sales and vacationer arrivals.

The Covid outbreak dealt one other blow to the financial system.

Whereas retail gross sales have recovered since February this 12 months, the tempo of progress has slowed down. In the meantime, customer arrivals into Hong Kong have remained weak.

Yau stated it is encouraging that the variety of each day Covid instances has fallen and stayed low in Hong Kong over the previous month. That might permit extra segments of the financial system to get well, however recent waves of infections might nonetheless happen, he added.

“The lesson we discovered is attempt to shorten the time to suppress the outbreak,” stated Yau, including that the flexibility to take action will assist instill confidence amongst people and companies.

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