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HK economy witness first annual decline since 2009

Friday - November 15, 2019 3:32 pm , Category : WORLD
Hong Kong, Nov 15 (IANS) Hong Kongs economy is expected to shrink by 1.3 per cent this year, its first annual decline since 2009, mainly due to the anti-government protests that have gripped the city since June, officials said on Friday.
The government downgraded its forecast for the city's gross domestic product (GDP) expansion for the second time this year, from a previous prediction of between 0 and 1 per cent growth, reports the South China Morning Post.
The initial estimate, before August, was 2 to 3 per cent.
The year-on-year figure for the third quarter showed a drop of 2.9 per cent, the biggest year-on-year contraction in a decade.
Earlier this month, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po warned a further downgrade for 2019 might be "unavoidable" and there was a "very big chance" the city would be in recession for the whole year.
Hong Kong has increasingly has become a battleground between police and protesters since June, when mass peaceful marches targeted a government proposal, since shelved, to allow the city's criminal ­suspects to be extradited to mainland China.
Those protests have since morphed into a larger activism, with citizens demanding the right to vote for their own city leaders.
This week, the pro-democracy protests have taken a dark turn. On Wednesday, a 15-year-old boy was hit in the head by what appeared to be a tear-gas canister, according to the city Hospital Authority.
A day earlier, a battle between police and protesters turned a top university's campus into a combat zone.
On Monday, a Hong Kong police officer shot a protester, while in a separate incident, protesters apparently set on fire a man who had expressed support for police outside an MTR station.

--IANS ksk/