Financial Secretary Paul Chan said on Sunday that he expects a more stable economic environment this year, but stressed that Hong Kong has to rely on bolstering tourism and consumption to meet its short-term goals.
Speaking on a radio programme, he noted that interest rates are no longer going up and may begin to fall, relieving the pressure on the property sector and the stock market.
However, he still expects Hong Kong to face external challenges, such as the geopolitical situation in the first half of the year.
Chan said the SAR has to work towards short-term goals as well.
"To stand up to external challenges and consolidate our drivers for economic growth in the short term, we have to rely on tourism and consumption. The export performance still faces pressure," he said.
"Hong Kong is a service-based economy, so consumption can boost related services and employment. If consumption can enhance the atmosphere in society and everyone is happy, it can boost investment too."
Chan will deliver his annual budget on February 28.
Asked whether consumption vouchers will be handed out again, he said the majority view indicated that the authorities should not roll out the kind of relief measures they introduced in the past years.
"We spent a lot during the pandemic. The fiscal deficit may be about HK$100 billion for the 2023 to 2024 [financial year]... We have to consider the government's financial affordability. We will strike a balance between different issues," he said.