Hong Kong Growth Cools to Slowest Pace Since 2012 on Exports

Hong Kong’s economy grew in the first quarter at the slowest pace since a contraction in 2012 because of weakness in exports.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.2 percent from the previous three months, the government said in a statement on its website today. That was less than the 0.4 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 economists.

Hong Kong’s government maintained a forecast for a full-year expansion of between 3 percent and 4 percent, betting that a strengthening global economy will provide more support in the second half of 2014. China’s slowdown is adding to risks for the neighboring city, and a sagging real-estate market may weigh on private consumption.

“Weakness in the property market as a result of U.S. policy normalization may be a powerful headwind to consumption,” said Mole Hau, a Hong Kong-based economist at BNP Paribas SA. At the same time, an improving American economy will be increasingly supportive of exports, he said.

Today’s growth figure was the lowest since a 0.1 percent contraction in the second quarter of 2012.

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