Hong Kong recession deepens as economy shrinks

HONG KONG – Hong Kong economy’s first recession in a decade deepened in the fourth quarter of last year, weighed down by often violent anti-government protests and the US-China trade war, advanced estimates showed on Monday.

The economy shrank by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 per cent in October-December from the previous quarter, versus a revised 3 per cent in -September. On an annual basis, the economy contracted 2.9 per cent, compared with a revised 2.8 per cent in the third quarter.

For the whole of 2019, real gross domestic product contracted by 1.2 per cent, the first annual decline since 2009.

Months of unrest in Hong Kong last year plunged the financial and trading hub into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Analysts predict an even worse first quarter in 2020, as measures to restrict cross-border mobility to fight the spread of a new coronavirus which originated in mainland China deal a further blow to tourism, retail and other business.

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