Hong Kong/Economy

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After a slump caused by the regionwide Asian financial crisis that began in 1997, Hong Kong's economy is on the rebound. Real GDP growth was 3.1% in 1999 and reached double digits in the first half of 2000. After peaking at 6.3% in 1999, the unemployment rate eased back to 4.8% in mid-2000.

In August 1998, the government intervened in the stock, futures, and currency markets to fend off "manipulators," terming the move a one-time divergence from its usual adherence to noninterventionist, market-oriented policies. The banking sector remains solid, and the government is committed to the U.S.-Hong Kong dollar link.

Hong Kong has little arable land and virtually no natural resources, including water for agriculture. Agriculturally, it is less than 20% self-sufficient. However, its magnificent harbor has facilitated rapid development of foreign trade. Hong Kong's principal trading partners include China, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Singapore, and South Korea. Hong Kong enjoyed economic growth in the past because of its strong manufacturing sector, but in recent years the service sector has surpassed it in importance and now accounts for 85% of GDP. The major components of Hong Kong's service trade are shipping, civil aviation, tourism, and various financial services. Hong Kong has one of the world's most sophisticated telecommunications and information technology infrastructures and functions as a major regional and international financial and commercial center. In 1999, Hong Kong's gross domestic product (GDP) was $158 billion.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $158.2 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.8% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $23,100 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.1%
industry: 14.7%
services: 85.2% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): -4% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 3.36 million (1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 31.9%, social services 9.9%, manufacturing 9.2%, financing, insurance, and real estate 13.1%, transport and communications 5.7%, construction 2.6%, other 27.6% (October 1998)

Unemployment rate: 6% (1999 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $23.1 billion
expenditures: $25.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY98/99)

Industries: textiles, clothing, tourism, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks

Industrial production growth rate: -8.7% (1998 est.)

Electricity - production: 29.529 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 34.612 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 610 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 7.76 billion kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: fresh vegetables; poultry

Exports: $169.98 billion (including reexports; f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: clothing, textiles, footwear, electrical appliances, watches and clocks, toys

Exports - partners: China 34%, US 23%, Japan 5%, Germany 4%, UK 4%, Singapore 2% (1998)

Imports: $174.4 billion (c.i.f., 1999)

Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, transport equipment, raw materials, semimanufactures, petroleum; a large share is reexported

Imports - partners: China 41%, Japan 13%, US 8%, Taiwan 7%, South Korea 5%, Singapore 4% (1998)

Debt - external: $48.1 billion (1999)

Economic aid - recipient: none

Currency: 1 Hong Kong dollar (HK$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Hong Kong dollars (HK$) per US$ - 7.7780 (January 2000), 7.7575 (1999), 7.7453 (1998), 7.7427 (1997), 7.730 (1996), 7.800 (1995); note - Hong Kong became a special administrative region of China on 1 July 1997; before then, linked to the US dollar at the rate of about 7.8 HK$ per 1 US$

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March