World

A man walks on a street after the clashes between anti-extradition bill protesters and police officers during a demonstration in Sham Shui Po neighbourhood in Hong Kong, China, August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s government announced an economic support package worth HK$19.1 billion ($2.44 billion) on Thursday as escalating political protests and the prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war weigh heavily on the Asian financial center.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan unveiled the plan at a news conference, after saying the government is expecting to lower its 2019 GDP growth forecast to 0%-1%, from the original 2-3%.

Chan said the measures include subsidies for the underprivileged and business enterprises.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last week warned the next downturn will hit the city’s economy like a “tsunami”, and said her administration will be “more daring” in supporting growth.

Hong Kong will release second-quarter data and its latest economic forecasts on Aug. 16.

The economy expanded 0.6% in April-June from a year earlier, preliminary data showed, in line with the first quarter’s pace but much less than economists expected. It contracted on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

Reporting by Noah Sin, Twinnie Siu and Donny Kwok; Editing by Kim Coghill

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