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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) banks’ exposure to nonbanking businesses in Mainland China. Hong Kong SAR banks are generally less exposed to riskier Mainland businesses. Despite that, a sharp deterioration in the balance sheet of Mainland businesses, as well as a sharper-than-expected downturn in the Mainland economy could negatively affect Hong Kong SAR banks, raising debt at risk well above suggested estimates. As Hong Kong SAR banks generally have sizable buffers against downside risks, the best approach to such a scenario is vigilance, including maintaining high origination and underwriting standards.
International Monetary Fund
The Executive Board of the IMF has concluded the consultation discussions with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Hong Kong SAR has rebounded from the global financial crisis, and growth should be at 5¾ percent this year. Unemployment has fallen to low levels, and real incomes have grown, supporting consumption. It is noted that growth has rebounded thanks to the authorities’ policy response, highly flexible labor and product markets, and favorable spillovers from Mainland China. The progress on increasing trade settlement and issuing financial instruments denominated in renminbi has accelerated.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)'s healthy labor market and supportive fiscal policy helped its domestic economy's resilience, while its gross domestic product (GDP) growth was marginally slow owing to its weak external environment. Its fiscal policy has been effective in reducing output volatility and providing timely support to help counter the impact from slowing external demand. The authorities have taken appropriate macroprudential measures to help safeguard the banking system, which should continue to be fine-tuned in line with evolving risks.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with People’s Republic of China—Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) discusses that the economy is projected to start recovering next year, but the pace is expected to be gradual and both near- and medium-term risks have increased significantly, including from trade and technology tensions, ongoing social unrest, and structural challenges of insufficient housing supply and high income inequality. Hong Kong SAR is well placed to address both cyclical and structural challenges with its significant buffers thanks to its long history of prudent macroeconomic policies. Given that the fiscal framework permits deficits during economic downturns, government spending should be increased significantly in the areas of social safety nets, education/retraining, and infrastructure to cope with the cyclical downturn and address structural challenges of insufficient housing and high-income inequality. This should be complemented with measures to ensure fiscal sustainability and greater equity.