Financial Secretary Paul Chan on Monday said a budget deficit in the next financial year is inevitable.
Speaking at a Legislative Council panel meeting, Chan said the current fiscal year's budget deficit is expected to exceed HK$100 billion, surpassing the initial estimate.
He said authorities will try to prevent the deficit from exceeding three to four percent of the city's gross domestic product.
In response, real estate sector lawmaker, Louis Loong, called for the removal of all property cooling measures – a move that he says would reduce the budget deficit – in order to stimulate home purchases and boost land sales.
Chan said while land sales are a significant source of government revenue, the retention of these measures is aimed at enabling first-time homebuyers to afford housing in the city.
Meanwhile, DAB lawmaker Edmund Wong expressed concerns that a downturn in the local stock market has led to recent online comments that Hong Kong is now a "relic" of an international financial centre.
The finance chief admitted that stock market performance has been weak this year, citing various factors, including US sanctions and fluctuations in the mainland market.
"More than half of the companies listed in Hong Kong are from the mainland... Their daily trading volumes reach 70 percent, or even 80 percent. As a result, the performance of Hong Kong stocks is tied to the mainland economy and stock markets," Chan explained.
He pointed out the government has already established a task force to enhance the liquidity of the stock market and attract more capital.