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Hong Kong ends its longest recession in decades

Hong Kong’s economy returned to growth in the first quarter of the year, according to official figures released on Monday, ending the longest period of recession in the city’s modern history.

The international financial center has been affected in the last 18 months by the triple effect of the trade war between the United States and China, social unrest and the coronavirus pandemic.

The territory registered six consecutive quarters of negative growth, a more prolonged decline than that of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the world crash of 2007-08.

But the recession came to an end on Monday, when the government announced that the economy grew 7.8% year-on-year in the first three months of 2021.

When the pandemic began, Hong Kong was already mired in a deep recession.

In 2019, months of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests coincided with trade tensions between Beijing and the United States, which hit this economy that acts as an international gateway to China.

The city was one of the first places outside mainland China to register a coronavirus infection, and the economy slumped by a record 9.1% in the first quarter of 2020.

Since then, Hong Kong has managed to limit the spread of the virus to just over 11,000 cases in a year thanks to strict quarantine and social distancing measures, with serious consequences for the economy.

This year’s economic rebound is largely due to a resurgence in exports, driven by the recovery in both China and the United States.

Finance Secretary Paul Chan has forecast growth for 2021 of between 3.5% and 5.5%

jta/leg/pc/mar

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