Hong Kong Economy Grows 0.4% in Quarter, Matching Estimate

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Hong Kong’s economy grew 0.4 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months, matching the median estimate in a survey of analysts by Bloomberg.

That compares with a revised 0.2 percent gain in the fourth quarter, the government said in a statement Friday.

“Hong Kong’s economy continued to grow at a sub-par pace at the start of 2015,” Mole Hau, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in Hong Kong, said in a phone interview.

The government maintained its forecast for economic growth of 1 percent to 3 percent in 2015. Economists predict 2.6 percent expansion, according to the median estimate of 27 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Domestic demand remained the key source of growth,” the government said. “External demand was still lackluster, with goods exports expanding only marginally and with services exports, being dragged by the slowdown in inbound tourism, slackening further.”

The economy expanded 2.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, weaker than the revised 2.4 percent expansion in October through December and matching economists’ estimates.

Hong Kong saw its first monthly drop in visitors since June 2009 in March, when sales of jewelry, watches and clocks also fell for the sixth straight month.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board forecasts overall visitor arrival growth to slow to 6.4 percent in 2015 from 12 percent last year, with mainland Chinese tourist arrivals decelerating to 8 percent growth this year from 16 percent in 2014.

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