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HK to decrease growth forecast

HONG Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Donald Tsang said yesterday that full-year forecasts for economic growth would be adjusted downward and vowed more relief measures.

Speaking at a question-and-answer session of the HKSAR Legislative Council, Tsang said the Hong Kong economy continued to deteriorate in the first quarter, with exports plummeting 22 percent year on year and retail sales down 5.5 percent.

"It was worse than the fourth quarter of last year," he said.

The gross domestic product data, due to be released today, was expected to show a sharp deterioration in the first quarter this year, too.

He added that prospects for the second quarter were not bright, either.

Full-year forecasts will also be adjusted downward, Tsang said, citing possible uncertainties arising from the spread of the swine flu virus and the fact that the global economy had yet to fully stabilize.

The HKSAR government was currently planning more economic-relief measures.

"I promise you the relief measures will be announced in a month," Tsang said.

Tsang said he believed Hong Kong would be able to tackle the economic challenges that lie ahead, as was the case in the recent battle against the H1N1 influenza threat.


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