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Budget Speech

Economic Performance in 2014

9.    Global economic performance was less than spectacular in 2014.  Despite the steady performance of the Mainland's economy and signs of recovery in the US, our trade performance was beset by Eurozone's weakening economy and Japan's relapse into recession.  Merchandise exports grew by one per cent and service exports by 0.5 per cent in real terms.  As a result, our economy grew by only 2.3 per cent last year, the third consecutive year with a growth rate lower than the annual average of 3.9 per cent over the past decade.

10.    The unemployment rate averaged at a low level of 3.2 per cent for the year as a whole, sustaining a state of full employment.  Private consumption expenditure maintained moderate growth, but investment expenditure was soft and sentiment turned cautious.

11.    Inflation continued to ease.  Overall rentals rose, but the rises were generally modest.  With steady increases in labour costs and mild imported inflation, the headline inflation rate for 2014 was 4.4 per cent.  Netting out the effects of Government's one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 3.5 per cent, lower than the four per cent in 2013.

12.    Prolonged political bickering is detrimental to public administration and the international image of Hong Kong as a stable, law-abiding and efficient city.  It may even dampen investors' confidence in Hong Kong.  Such self-inflicted harm does not serve the city well.  The occupy movement affected tourism, hotel, catering, retail and transport industries, etc. to varying degrees.  To offset the impact on economic confidence, I shall implement an array of support measures targeting affected industries and launch a new round of efforts to promote Hong Kong.



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