Economy dips 8.9% in Q1

May 4, 2020

(To watch the whole media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Hong Kong's economy in the first quarter of 2020 contracted 8.9% over a year earlier, the largest decline on record since 1974.


The Census & Statistics Department announced the findings today as it released advance estimates on Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter.


Addressing the media today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan noted the economic recession deepened in Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2020.


“Although locally, the epidemic situation seems to be under control, but the external environment is still very challenging. Globally, the epidemic is yet to be put under complete control. That will affect our exports. That will also affect international travelling and business investments. 


“So, going forward in the second quarter, we believe that even if there is improvement, the improvement will be gradual and small.”


According to those estimates, private consumption expenditure decreased 10.2% in real terms in the first quarter from a year earlier, deteriorating from the 2.9% decline in the fourth quarter of 2019.


Government consumption expenditure grew 8.3% year-on-year, after the increase of 6.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019.


Gross domestic fixed capital formation dropped by 13.9%, compared with the decrease of 16.8% in the previous quarter.


Over the same period, total exports of goods declined 9.7% and imports of goods also fell 10.9%.


Exports of services dropped 37.8% and imports of services decreased 25.4%.


Mr Chan called on people to work together to promote economic development by consumption.


“If we are able to work together, if we can unite together - not just to fight the virus, but to stimulate consumption to promote economic development - I think the economic situation will be able to stabilise somewhat in the second quarter. 


“If the global epidemic situation improves, we will be able to come out of recession gradually towards the end of this year. 


“I will appeal to our people's support for us to roll out various measures in the Anti-epidemic Fund - round one and round two - as well as the relief packages in the 2020-21 Budget as soon as possible.


“Many of those initiatives are still yet to be implemented. Upon full implementation of those measures, I think the positive impact on the economy would be better felt by the community. We will be monitoring the situation carefully.”


The Government stands ready to roll out additional measures to support Hong Kong people and the businesses, Mr Chan added.

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