The government said on Wednesday it disagreed with Moody’s decision to change the credit outlook of Hong Kong to "negative" from "stable", adding that the SAR's close integration with the mainland should not be a rating constraint.
In a statement, the government highlighted the deepening and widening economic and financial links between Hong Kong and the mainland, stressing that these factors should be viewed as strengths rather than constraints in assessing the region's creditworthiness.
The statement quoted the Ministry of Finance as saying that the property market adjustment on the mainland is manageable and the local government debt issue has been brought under control with positive results.
It said the mainland was moving towards high-quality development, which would create boundless business and investment opportunities for Hong Kong.
"Our deepening and expanding economic and financial ties with the Mainland will continue to be a positive driver supporting our long-term economic growth, bringing benefits to the local and international businesses operating in the city," it said.
Meanwhile, the government criticised Moody's for making "unfounded" comments about the SAR's high degree of autonomy, political and judicial institutions, implementation of the National Security Law and changes to the electoral system.
The statement said the central government is committed to maintaining the "One Country, Two Systems" principle in the long term, meaning that Hong Kong's core strengths as an international financial and trading centre will remain.
Despite the downgrade of the credit outlook, Moody's affirmed Hong Kong's long-term issuer rating at "Aa3", as the city's strong credit strengths, fiscal buffers and large foreign exchange reserves provide it with resilience and a significant buffer against shocks.