Secretary of Commerce on Trade, Covid Resumption
Hong Kong’s economy has rebounded strongly after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic – but it’s not out of the woods yet and some sectors are still in shock, the top trade official in the UK said. city.
“The distribution of this rebound is rather uneven,” Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s trade and economic development secretary, told CNBC. “Squawk Box Asia “ Thursday.
Yau explained that imports and exports have been a “very powerful catalyst” for growth in recent months, with overall trade reaching record levels in just a few months. However, retail sales are moderating and tourism is still struggling to recover, he said.
This uneven economic performance is also reflected in the labor market, and likely will remain so as Hong Kong faces the “double battle” of containing the spread of Covid and reviving the economy, Yau added.
Hong Kong economy increased by 7.9% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to a year ago. It was the city’s first economic expansion after six straight quarters of year-over-year contraction.
A man wearing a protective mask stands on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon which faces Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong.
Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images
Before the pandemic, Hong Kong – a semi-autonomous region ruled by China – was rocked by widespread protests in favor of democracy it sometimes became violent. The unrest plunged the economy into a recession in 2019 for the first time in a decade, driven by sharp declines in retail sales and tourist arrivals.
The Covid epidemic has dealt a further blow to the economy.
While retail sales have recovered since February of this year, the pace of growth has slowed. Meanwhile, visitor arrivals to Hong Kong have remained weak.
Yau said it was encouraging that the number of daily Covid cases has declined and remained low in Hong Kong over the past month. This would allow more segments of the economy to recover, but new waves of infections could still occur, he added.
“The lesson we have learned is to try to shorten the time it takes to suppress the epidemic,” Yau said, adding that the ability to do so would help build trust among individuals and businesses.