Hong Kong’s economy suffers worst quarterly contraction in history

Virus impact, political unrest and trade war woes have pushed the city deeper into recession. (AP pic)

HONG KONG:¬†Hong Kong’s economy suffered its worst quarterly contraction since modern records began, official figures showed Monday, as the coronavirus hammered a business hub already mired in recession from political unrest and trade war woes.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city was suffering long before the global pandemic burst out of China thanks to months of debilitating street protests and the knock-on effect of Washington and Beijing’s trade dispute.

But fallout from the coronavirus has pushed the city deeper into recession with the worst quarterly downturn in modern times.

Advance figures released Monday showed the economy contracted 8.9% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

That figure beats both an 8.3% contraction during the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and a 7.8% drop in early 2009 following the global crash.

“This was the largest decline on record since the reference period of the first quarter of 1974,” the government said, referencing the year it began tracking comparable data.

The fall is also the third straight quarter Hong Kong’s economy has declined, making it the deepest recession stretch since 2009.