Financial Secretary Paul Chan on Sunday said easing quarantine rules and a fresh round of consumption vouchers are boosting the local economy, but warned that Hong Kong still faces headwinds such as rising US interest rates.
Writing on his official blog, Chan said the shortening of hotel quarantine from seven to three days, which has been welcomed by both locals and overseas travellers, has had a positive impact on the economy.
He added that the second phase of the vouchers disbursed since last Sunday injected about HK$13 billion of consumption power into the local market.
But the finance chief said the vouchers are not enough to offset the impact of weak exports, which were dragged down by external factors such as the international geopolitical situation and global inflation.
Chan also expressed concern about Hong Kong's latest economic performance.
Second quarter GDP was 1 percent higher than in the first three months of the year but down 1.3 percent from a year ago, which he described as worrying.
Meanwhile, Chan dismissed concerns that a rent moratorium has hit small landlords, saying authorities have so far only received three applications for the interest-free loan scheme from landlords with financial needs.
Under the three-month scheme which came into effect in May, landlords are barred from evicting or taking legal action against businesses that fall behind in their rental payments during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Chan said he has asked the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation to help landlords in need, such as strengthening their communication with banks and small and medium-sized enterprises, and speeding up the application review time for the government’s 100% Personal Loan Guarantee Scheme.